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Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS Features, interviews and ideas from Buro Happold Issue One



Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS The magazine of Buro Happold


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Smart Cities


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Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS The magazine of Buro Happold

Foreword The world is becoming increasingly connected, and this demands connected thinking. Diversity, first and foremost, teaches us to recognise and accept differences in others, looking beyond the basic differentiators of language, culture, race and gender. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” - Steve Jobs It’s this diversity that binds Buro Happold and our magazine together; an eclectic mix of articles that give an insight into who we are, and what we are interested in. In this issue we explore just what globalisation means to those working in the fields of engineering and architecture (pg 12-17). Professor Brian Cox tells us about how he translates the complex and his work at CERN searching for the Higgs boson (pg 2225). Dr Jim Coleman assesses the economic impact of resource rich countries (pg 42-45) while Andrew Comer reveals his views on the Smart city phenomenon (pg 8-11). As the world evolves and we as a firm adapt there’s one thing that doesn’t change: engineers are human and Buro Happold strives to meet the unfolding needs of people in new environments with the most ancient of human technologies: heart and mind. We hope you enjoy your journey through our magazine. Y Team



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The Big Picture

Infinity Loop Bridge China Working closely with 10 Design, Buro Happold won an international design competition to create a gateway bridge into southern China’s newest commercial development, the Shizimen Business District in Zhuhai. The bridge marks the connection of the Shizimen Canal to the Pearl River Delta. The design strives to be a beautifully simple and elegant structural solution, the bridge will provide a visual focus for the area and is set to become an iconic landmark on China’s southern coast.

Continuous sculptural loop supports the road deck with suspension cables

Undulating coastline conditions informed the asymmetric span



The Big Picture: Infinity Loop Bridge China

Single looping ribbon rises to 100m at its highest point

Bridge centres on a double figure of eight – a symbol of prosperity in China

Six lane highway cradled by seemingly weightless structure

Zhuhai is one of China’s up and coming special economic zones strongly supported by Central Government

Scan for more info on Buro Happold’s bridge engineering capability.

The Big Picture: Infinity Loop Bridge China



For the past half century the human race has grown at an alarming rate, along with the urban areas in which many of us now live. It is estimated that over half of the world’s population live in cities, and that figure is predicted to increase to 70% by the second half of this century.

The UN estimates that there are 40 million new city dwellers in Asia every year, and by 2030 there will be over 2 billion new urban residents worldwide. While many governments in developing countries grapple with the challenge of accommodating this shift of demographics, some cities in the developed world are facing a different set of problems, such as economic stagnation and a shrinking population. This leaves concurrent issues: many cities are growing too rapidly for the existing infrastructure and services to cope, leaving them struggling to provide essentials such as adequate water, waste treatment, energy and food, while other cities have an infrastructure which is too big for current needs and too costly to maintain. With cities also being responsible for a reported 75% of the world’s carbon footprint, a radical set of solutions is needed to tackle the social, economic and environmental issues that are becoming increasingly familiar.

Engineering the




Smart Cities the Living City Engineering

Image: Thinkstock

One major solution that is finding its way into debates about our urban environments is the ‘smart city’ – a city that is built around new and emerging information and communications technologies, focusing on the opportunities that applied science and technology can provide in relation to management of city systems and advancements in knowledge communication and social infrastructure. Technology giants IBM claim that the smarter systems are already making a huge impact on today’s cities – in 2011, 400 cities globally used smart traffic systems, saving their road users 100,000 hours in delays and saving each municipality $15m. IBM claims that smarter cities offer ‘tangible outcomes and benefits’ to cities across the globe, saving energy, money and time. It’s clear that integrating ICT systems with city planning is working effectively.

City Smart Cities Engineering the Living City



Image: ADA Image: Machado and Silvetti Associates

Top: Wadi Hanifah, Riyadh, KSA. Above: Tun Razak Exchange, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Right: The High Line, New York, USA.

But does smart city thinking really go far enough? Or do we need to think beyond the technology? Andrew Comer, Infrastructure and Environment Director at Buro Happold, thinks so. “We feel that the term ‘smart cities’ is restrictive in describing an approach that needs to be taken to tackle the huge challenges that need to be addressed at a city level. While we recognise that technology has a significant role to play going forward, we believe that real solutions go beyond pure technology.” Comer argues that while technology will help us to achieve more sustainable outcomes for future communities, issues such as governance, economic resilience and futureproofing of environments – to name a few – all have their part to play in the future city space. “Our work with parties close to city development and regeneration has provided us with the evidence that there are a number of key elements which need to be integrated for a city to develop in a truly ‘smart’ way – optimising the planning, design, construction and operation of infrastructure systems, public space and buildings in a way that meets the current and future needs of its citizens,” Comer explains. “Our team at Buro Happold call this approach to urban development ‘The Living City’ – we aim to work holistically, to embrace not just resource efficiency but promotion of good health, economic stability, a sense of shared community and an ability to adapt to future challenges.” The Living City model works on the premise that engineers, architects and planners need to incorporate ‘layers of smartness’ into cities, considering every aspect that an urban environment needs to function more effectively with the demands of a growing population, decreasing natural resources and the increasing impact of climate change. Comer believes that consulting engineers, with their ability to harness technology and science and apply them for the benefit of society, need to take a more prominent and pivotal role in the built environment. At the same time, he acknowledges the need for a broader approach to planning and design, ensuring that issues such as governance and growth, economics



Engineering the Living City

Image: Image credit here

Find out more about Living Cities, here:

and funding, security, safety and welfare are also given due consideration. The impact that this approach will have on the development of the built environment is already taking shape – a good example is Buro Happold’s recent work to guide the 20 year strategic framework plan for the future of Detroit which demonstrates the value of The Living City approach. A city that has been in catastrophic decline for the last 50 years due to the loss of industry, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has spearheaded the project to introduce both short term and long term plans to bring people back to the city. An expert panel working on the project identified 14 separate elements that, when combined, will improve the quality of life for the people living there, while encouraging long term growth and sustainability. Plans to reshape Detroit’s future include the provision of a co-ordinated infrastructure and transport system to provide adequate support for economic growth, a new social housing initiative and plans to create recreational and leisure hubs in the downtown area of the city – and technology will have a key role to play. So the future of the cities, whether growing, regenerating or down-sizing, is a commitment to broad-based, integrated planning and design, with opportunities offered by technology to enable them to operate more effectively and adapt to future change; and engineers are at the forefront of the process. Smart Cities Engineering the Living City










Images: Buro Happold / Ari Burling Photography

Rick Bell serves as executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. At the AIA, Rick has helped create and animate the storefront Center for Architecture, which has hosted 1,000 public events and 20 exhibitions each year since opening in October 2003. Before starting in his present position, Rick was Chief Architect and Assistant Commissioner of Architecture and Engineering at the NYC Department of Design and Construction. He has also worked in architectural offices in New York, California, France and Switzerland, and was a design principal at Warner Burns Toan Lunde.

Embraced as ‘new’, globalisation has been a reality for most of recorded history. From the Roman Empire to the Silk Road to the Golden Age of Discovery to the World Wide Web, our history is about opening new doors, spreading ideas and learning new ways of doing things. Globalisation is our reality. But how does it affect the practice of engineering and architecture? Y asked the American Institute of Architecture’s Rick Bell to navigate the thoughts of KPF’s Jill Lerner and Buro Happold’s Craig Schwitter.

RB: Here we are in New York City, a city that has global pretentions and global ambitions – it’s a place of interaction, exchange of ideas, goods and services. How do you define globalisation? JL: I think for us it’s really participation in the global economy. We are ambassadors for design. The concept of globalisation is that ideas can be generated from anywhere in the world and the best ideas can be imported, exported, produced and executed in a multitude of places. CS: If you are not global you are not going anywhere. I’m a big fan of Thomas Friedman and his theory that the world is flat – I believe that the playing field has been levelled. And one of the things that is really important in terms of global practice is understanding how the economics work. Services are needed because there are different problems in different parts of the world. RB: So do you think technology is the biggest change over the last decade or two? JL: I think that it has revolutionised the way we practice, you can have conversations with many players across the globe at the same time despite time zones. CS: I think globalisation is technology. Technology is a base – if you didn’t have the internet, communication devices, reliable air travel etc. you wouldn’t be able to practice around the world. At the same time I think people’s general attitude towards globalisation has changed. Today 30% 40% of my friends are now working abroad. That isn’t just technology, but technology is the enabler.




JL: As more of the world has become wealthier, they have

building. From a competitive point of view, keeping our

aspirations to embrace urbanisation and design more

reputation for the quality of building at a very high level has

sustainable cities, but they need the expertise that a lot of us

enabled us to compete more readily in various markets.

bring. There are different expertise found in different places.

CS: The key thing we are trying to get across in a globalised

RB: What have your colleagues learned from local

approach is that the services we bring to a client helps

practices overseas that is currently working in New York

them to compete in a globalised world. The PNC Tower in

and the United States – what transfers back?

Pittsburgh is not competing with the tower next door, it’s

CS: A number of things. For example, energy codes in some

competing with a tower in China or Europe or India.

parts of the world are more stringent than the US and

RB: Let’s talk about the workforce. You mentioned the

techniques and technologies can be successfully transferred

importance of cultural understanding, language skills,

from other parts of the world into the US marketplace.

empathy, and political sophistication in regards to

Also, for some rapidly developing countries, construction

having a diverse office. Looking at recent graduates,

techniques and methods can be fed back and used here

are you finding that the educational system in both

in New York. Tapping into world-wide best practices and

architecture and engineering is up to the challenge of

having a network of offices is ultimately richer for Buro

increasing globalisation?

Happold as a practice.

JL: I think architecture schools recognise that it’s a global

JL: It goes both ways. What was a non-starter here – such

playing field and are doing a lot to recruit international

as 15 floors of retail – is an option in other places, and we

students. Almost all have travel abroad programmes and I

begin to think differently. We begin to think where it is

think there is a big effort to expose students to the larger

commercially viable and we learn how to organise vertical

world and global events. In our case we get amazing

transportation etc…

candidates and applicants who are from different countries

RB: Like projects in Tokyo or Seoul?

but have studied in the US and want to work for a firm where

JL: …right. And our most recent one in Hong Kong brings shoppers to the 15th floor and has sky gardens – these

they can use the skills and knowledge from their home country.

are different techniques that we have developed from a

CS: I’d say it has changed quite a bit, we are feeling some of

planning perspective in terms of integration of systems, so

the negative pressure of globalisation on the engineering

there are lessons learnt that we can bring back to the US.

workforce in the US. I’d suggest 20 years ago, when I was

CS: We are doing a 40 storey high rise tower in Pittsburgh. The PNC Tower will be the first naturally ventilated high rise building in the United States for generations. One could say that the technology we are employing is American. The client – one of the largest banks in the US – is American as are the contractor and subcontractors. But we have brought

coming out of school, that it was common for someone to come from abroad, get an education in the US and stay. They would become a naturalised US citizen. That has changed, many people now want to get back home as quickly as possible because the opportunities there are sometimes greater than the opportunities here.

our European experience to produce a building of this

JL: Also I feel that as a country we don’t do anything to keep

nature. I don’t think we would be doing this project unless

those people. There are a lot of people who would like to

we were a globalised practice.


RB: How has globalisation changed the competition

RB: Due to immigration policy…?

between firms?

JL: It’s become very difficult. There is now a broadening

JL: What’s become extremely important to us working

recognition that this is really not helping us as a country –

abroad is the preservation of the brand. Before we just tried

this kind of brain drain where we train people and then we

to do the best design we could on every project. But in the

ask them to please leave.

case of going abroad I think name recognition is even more

CS: We are still very lucky. We have a very good mix of people

critical. We are much more likely to walk away from a project

in our NY and LA offices, a great mixing pot of different

if we don’t think the aspirations are there to do a really great

engineers and nationalities. The UK and US engineering




model and education system tends to produce a type of

buildings in the USA to prove it’s not going away, it’s not a

engineer that is a little more open to problem solving –

fad. Sustainability is driving virtually everything we do. It’s

there are some non-cognitive advantages to the education

hard for me to work on a project and not to think of those

systems in those places.


RB: What are the changes in sustainable technologies

JL: Another point I’d like to make about sustainability is we

that have made a difference in the buildings you design?

like to think in the long run, one could question why build

CS: The issue with sustainability globally is one of

a very sustainable building in a place where air pollution is

performance of resource. With less resource you demand

horrible. We have worked in climates, such as the Middle

greater performance and there is no client, whether they

East, where there was a sincere desire for sustainability,

are in New York or in Mumbai that would disagree. How do

even in 135 degree heat. Sometimes even though the client

we do more with less? It’s so simple and yet so complicated

wants a sustainable building the underlying premise might

to do. To move away from a system that for so many years

be questionable.

was doing more with more, we have to train ourselves that

RB: What do we learn from global, mega engineering /

less energy in a building doesn’t compromise performance,

architect firms?

if anything it enhances performance. Eco-efficiency is only

JL: Well, I would say that we get to pick the best engineers

really gaining traction now and we have thousands of LEED

that we like to work with in different places and so it’s about


Jill Lerner is a principal at KPF where she leads the design of numerous award-winning academic and research facilities projects throughout the United States and abroad. A graduate of Cornell University, Jill served as the only architect on Cornell’s Board of trustees and chaired the Dean’s Advisory Council at the College of Architecture Art and Planning. She is is a member of the president’s Council of Cornell Women and the Advisory Board at the Atkinson Center for Global Sustainability. Jill is the president-elect of the NY American Institute of Architects, has served on the Board of the Center for Architecture Foundation and New York’s Salvadori Center and is a member of the NY Building Congress. After 9/11 she co-chaired the memorials process committee for New York/New Visions.




putting together the best expertise and knowing how to

The second thing, more for engineers than architects, is

manage and run the project well. Being able to organise

having all the services under one roof. Multidisciplinary

a big team effort and point the whole ship in the same

engineering is a term that implies that you use all of these

direction and work in that really collaborative way is key. We

services on every project simply because they’re under

love to get our engineers on board from day one. There is

one roof and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the

nothing that makes us more nervous about a project than

best service. I don’t necessarily agree with that model. With

if there is no engineering input and you’re working away.

interdisciplinary or integrated services you provide select

That’s the key thing to managing a project and getting that

services that are most meaningful to be together and best

interaction, whether they are technically in-house or not.

satisfy the clients’ needs. Having the facade designer close

CS: It’s pretty clear that there has been wide spread

to the energy consultant, close to the MEP consultant is

globalisation of engineering and architecture practices

critically important if you’re doing an office building. If you

with several firms becoming very, very large. There are two

separate those, you’re doing it at your own risk. These are

factors to question that model: the first is the people that

things that we have learnt about global practice that are

you work with. There may be a lot of great people in these

important differentiators. Certainly larger scale practices

practices, but in reality even large scale projects are only

work, and on certain types of projects work well. But their

influenced by a dozen key leaders…

growth seems to be built more upon the basis of risk or risk aversion not necessarily quality. Our practice, much like Jill’s,

JL: Or less! CS: Or less! They will have large teams supporting them,

is all about quality.

but truly innovative ideas can come from any sized firm.


With over 20 years of experience, Craig Schwitter is a leader in the engineering design of complex buildings and large scale developments that include educational, performing arts, cultural, civic, stadia, transportation, and masterplanning projects. Craig founded the first North American office of Buro Happold consulting engineers in 1999. With a focus on integrated engineering and the use of appropriate technology, Craig has played a hands-on role in ensuring the high quality in Buro Happold’s projects and breakthrough innovations on recent high profile engineering commissions with the firm. The firm’s work in low energy and high performance buildings has been a key area of technology development that Buro Happold continues to pursue across its worldwide portfolio of projects. Under his direction the firm has developed the Adaptive Building initiative and G. works, both related industry efforts in North America that address today’s critical low carbon and high performance building design issues.




The biggest competitor to a large scale global practice is a

ten years from now and how that informs everything.

single practitioner that’s a true threat to the business model.

Globalisation is here to stay and it’s clear that certain

That single practitioner can be an army of one in a global

products are being made better elsewhere than we make

network. I would say more and more you will continue to

them in the United States. We as architects are dependent

see the influence of the small practitioner, because design

on those materials and therefore interlocked in a global

is ultimately the quality of the product coming to the table.

economy. I think it’s going to become even more robust with

You don’t need a 1,000 person army, the reality is that we

more places in the world starting to emerge, more places

know design is likely to spring from a great individual and

that are ready to build and embrace new technologies.

that keeps the practice of architecture moving forward.

There is sometimes much more openness to invention and

RB: What about place-based globalism. How can you

innovation in other parts of the world.

listen attentively from afar?

CS: In terms of some predictions, New York is not ‘the’ centre

JL: I would say you have to be there, you have to feel the

of the world right now, but it is ‘a’ centre of the world, and

pulse of a place, you have to see what other buildings are

it will remain so. In an increasingly globalised world we get

being built and rely on the people on the ground who have

these centres, these hubs of activity that will continue to

a good understanding of the situation. Translation always

attract and intensify…these are the nodes that make the

amazes me. When you are giving a presentation that’s being

world go forward. Another thing that is happening, and

translated the length of the translation never really matches

it’s happening as we speak, is that the standard of living

the length of what you are saying. I always wonder about

in these hubs is growing, so the idea that you pay less for

that – we rely on partners who are from that country to tell

somebody in a developing market versus a developed

us what is really happening, to size up the situation, to act

market is gradually going to diminish, so there will be that

on our behalf, for our best interest…

sort of levelling. And the line between developed and

RB: What gets lost in translation? What are the negatives of the process? JL: Who knows – it’s a mystery! Sometimes you are not

emerging will slowly but ultimately go away. A lot of people are afraid of that, but I think it will be the reality – and it will be a better day than today.

designing at the same level of understanding as what’s going through your clients’ head. CS: To be culturally or politically removed from design just can’t work, which is why we rely on our local partners to fill in the gaps. Nuances in culture are really engaging and

Scan for more info on Buro Happold’s work in the USA

interesting, and they make life worth living. They make you think about how you might approach a project in Saudi Arabia versus a project in Pittsburgh. I just think to be outside of that culture is not the way to live as part of the global culture and global dialogue. RB: Let’s end by predicting the future. If you were to extrapolate what we’ve learnt over the last several years during the economic crisis and the last decade of boom and bust, how have both professions changed? Would you be willing to predict where we will be in a couple of years or even in a decade or is that too much crystal gazing? JL: I think when you are talking about globalisation you have to talk about politics. There is a fundamental baseline that has to do with politics in terms of where one’s practicing




Image: Benoy


“Embracing Indian culture and the Indian way of life goes a long way to minimise the challenges of doing business.”




SUPERTECH, NOIDA, NEW DEHLI One of the many exciting high rise residential projects Buro Happold is involved with in India that epitomise the aspirations of the nation.

There is no such thing as a typical day in Mumbai. Each day is so unpredictable and can be full of surprises, with a multitude of factors including weather, traffic, religious and cultural festivals and unexpected political events having an impact on your day. As a city well known for its organised chaos, some tasks can be done with unbelievable efficiency and at the same time it can take between three and eight hours to get across town to a one hour meeting, depending on any of the aforementioned factors. However it is this unpredictability that makes India such an exciting and unique place to live and work. India is a particularly exciting place to be right now if you’re an engineer. As one of the four nations that form the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies – the term coined for economies that are on a similar level in terms of economic growth and development – India is one of the few hotspots in a world where a recessionary climate prevails. There are predictions that India will have a population of 1.6 billion by 2050 and it is set to become the third strongest economy after China and the USA. With this comes a sense of urgency amongst the young generation and the rising middle class to catch up with the rest of the world; fuelling a huge demand for housing along with the need to improve inadequate infrastructure, which is considered the biggest hindrance to India fulfilling economic predictions. This means





Image: Zvonimir Atletic /

Image: Dirk Ott /



there are huge opportunities for engineers in the residential market and also in infrastructure and public facilities. I am the regional director for Buro Happold’s 50 strong office in Mumbai. We are fast becoming recognised by the local market as a boutique foreign consulting firm with a genuine commitment to India. This identity is important as the market is very competitive, so it’s important to do your research and offer services in a strategic manner with clear objectives to maximise opportunities – to have the right plan and the right people in the right place making the right decisions. Embracing the Indian culture and the Indian way of life goes a long way to minimise the challenges of doing business




Image: Jan S /

Image: JeremyRichards /


“There is a sense of urgency amongst the young generation and the rising middle class to catch up with the rest of the world.” that typically win through when working in foreign countries. Indians are very proud people and possess strong religious and cultural values, which are entrenched not only in their personal lives but also into the work place. Business success in India goes hand in hand with being passionate about India. The management in our office in India has a 50:50 composition of expats to locally trained Indians. This has allowed us to fully appreciate the

local expectations from our clients and key project partners in terms of project deliverables, communication protocols and the all important commercial and legal issues enabling us to introduce the latest cutting edge technologies and ideas into India with relative ease. There is no doubt that India is a challenging work place, however along with all the differences between India and the Western countries there are many


Image: filmlandscape /

Image: paul prescott /



similarities. The most obvious is that the official language for this vast country is English, which goes a long way in making life easier for the average person from the West. Another significant similarity is the legal and political system that closely follows the British system which certainly brings a lot more comfort in international boardrooms when doing business in India. However in contrast the average day to day living could not be more different as one cannot escape the intense energy generated by the population for the five

senses. However it is difficult to explain that within the madness and intensity there is peace and inner happiness amongst the majority.

Image: paul prescott /

Image: Rechitan Sorin /


1. Road construction, West Bengal, using rudimentary tools. 2. Street industry, a welder, New Delhi. 3. Modern social housing in Mumbai. 4. Housing in Old Delhi where the unsatisfactory wiring causes frequent power problems. 5. Metro station, New Delhi. 6. Wind turbine in the Thar Desert. 7. Auto rickshaws and taxis, Mumbai. 8. Road transportation, Rajistan.

“Business success in India goes hand in hand with being passionate about India.�




There wasn’t much difference to me between the Apollo project, Star Wars and Star Trek.



Smart Cities Professor Brian Cox

The wonders of science and engineering Brian Cox discusses the relationship between physics and engineering with Herbert Wright

Professor Brian Cox, particle physicist and the brightest science broadcaster in a generation, is so passionate about science and engineering that not even child minding his one year old can distract him from evangelising about it. His work at CERN, contributing to the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson, might suggest he’s a scientist more interested in experiment than an engineer who delivers solutions, but he scotches that distinction straight away. “CERN is asking deep scientific questions, using some of the most complex engineering that’s ever been deployed,” he says. “Science and engineering have always been inseparable. You can’t do science without engineering, and you can’t do engineering without science.” Which is why he thinks it’s “very

natural” to be a physicist on the panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, a million-pound award for the best engineering innovation likely to benefit humanity, to be announced next Spring. Esteemed judges also include Buro Happold CEO Paul Westbury. “It’s intended to be the most prestigious prize, at the same level as the Nobel Prize,” Cox enthuses. He sees engineering and science as “transformative”, capable of creating growth and building nations, yet taken for granted by politicians and public. “That’s one of the things we need to do with this prize. We need to use it to remind people that it isn’t trivial.” It’s a point he’s made to UK Science Minister David Willetts, who he says is “superb and he absolutely gets it.” But Willets is unlikely to achieve what Cox

wants – a doubling of the UK’s science budget in the next Comprehensive Spending Review. “What’s the worst that could happen? You create a few more graduates, you spend a few more billion pounds, and there we are. The best that could happen, the upside, is you transform the British economy into the leading science and engineering economy in the world.” For him, that it would be “a sensible gamble.” At CERN, Cox was in charge of the FP420 experiment, which tagged protons coming out of the Large Hadron Collider, buried beneath the French-Swiss border in a 27km-long tunnel loop. The particle accelerator and its experiments constitute the most complex machine yet built, and Cox recalls his “very intimate relationship

ProfessorSmart BrianCities Cox



Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

with the engineers who designed and built the LHC.” His detectors were operating just 4mm from the proton beam which he describes as “carrying the kinetic energy of an aircraft carrier travelling at 30 mph.” Cutting edge technologies involved at CERN include electric and electronic engineering, detectors, computing, and not least cryogenics. CERN will now always be known for the first peek at the Higgs boson. The legendary particle is responsible for mass in the Universe and was long predicted by the Standard Model, a theoretical framework which elegantly describes sub-atomic particles and three of nature’s four forces (but not gravity). In July, its discovery was announced, then with a certainty of over a million to one. Nevertheless, Cox is cautious. “We don’t know if it’s the Standard Model Higgs boson, or even technically a Higgs boson, although it probably is, by which I mean it’s responsible for giving



Professor Brian Cox

mass to the W and Z particles, which are force-carrying particles. Whether it’s one of many Higgs’s, one of 5 maybe, one of 3, there are different theories.” Indeed, when science solves questions, it often seems to simultaneously scatter a load more new ones. I had to ask one of them – if everywhere is saturated with Higgs particles each weighing as much as 133 protons, why isn’t space unfeasibly heavy? Cox acknowledges that “the effect of cramming all those Higgs particles into the vacuum should be to rip it apart in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t, so that is not understood at all. It’s one of the great questions in 21st century theoretical physics.” Cox touches on other, related mysteries, such as Dark Energy (which is most of the Universe), Dark Matter (which massively outweighs the common or garden matter we know), hidden dimensions and not least, how gravity ties in with it all. “It’s fascinating,” he comments. “There’s a deep problem with our understanding of the basics,

and I think this brings it into focus.” CERN is heavily involved in the ITER project, the next step in developing nuclear fusion which should one day give the world virtually unlimited clean energy from the same processes that power stars. Cox has long advocated nuclear fusion, but perhaps climate change means we can’t wait for it and should find geo-engineering solutions, such as orbiting solar shades. When “you’re locked into a temperature rise globally that is unacceptable, then what do you do?” He asks. “You’ve got to take some of the heat away somehow. We can all debate the specifics, and some of them sound ridiculous and some don’t, but the point is there will be engineering solutions.” Engineers could learn from Cox when it comes to communicating complex ideas. Following two Wonders series for the BBC, he’s just finished filming a third, Wonders of Life, inspired initially by a 1943 book by quantum physicist

Image: © 2012 CERN, for the benefit of the CMS Collaboration

Communicating complex ideas: It’s in story-telling and making sure you’ve got things in the appropriate language.

Schrodinger. It will probe notions like the engineering limits to an organism’s size. So what makes him such a compelling communicator? “It’s in story-telling and making sure you’ve got things in the appropriate language.” Using CERN’s recent headline-grabbing as an example, he says that the story could be presented as “looking for the origin of electro-weak symmetry breaking” or “exploring the process that led to the fundamental building blocks of the Universe” – something way more direct. “Once you’ve got people’s attention and captured the imagination,” he continues, “then is the appropriate time to deliver enough information to understand it on a deep level.” Science fiction, too, can inspire an interest in science, and Cox recalls that as a child in Oldham “there wasn’t much difference to me between the Apollo project, Star Wars and Star Trek.” He

was also a bus and plane spotter. Such hobbies may be linked to science. Interviewing psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen about the character of scientists for the BBC, he learnt that “there’s a certain sort of personality called the systemising personality, where you like to collect data and try to analyse data.” But Cox’s big messages are for everyone – that science and engineering underpin society, and must be communicated and invested in. Two of his heroes, the botanist Joseph Banks and chemist Humphry Davy, addressed similar issues two centuries ago. When the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games opening ceremonies celebrated the worldwide web and the Higgs boson, he thought they were “an absolute triumph,” putting “science and engineering back to where it rightfully belongs, at the heart of our civilisation… We can celebrate that!”

Above: CMS Higgs Search in 2011 and 2012 data: candidate photon-photon event (8 TeV). Event recorded with the CMS detector in 2012 at a proton-proton centre of mass energy of 8 TeV. The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of the SM Higgs boson to a pair of photons (dashed yellow lines and green towers). The event could also be due to known Standard Model background processes. Left: Stars adorn Orion’s Sword – an active stellar nursery containing thousands of young stars and developing protostars. It is believed that visible matter makes up only a small fraction of the mass of the universe. The majority of the universe is made of stuff we can’t see – dark matter.

Professor Brian Cox



Predicting the unpredictable Will we ever be able to read peoples’ minds? Will it ever be possible to fully understand how our brains function? Will we be able to predict future events, an individual’s next move or second guess human behaviour with real certainty? Far fetched some may say, but many of us working in architecture and engineering are already making predictions based on human observation to design the world around us. As engineers, our lifeblood is data; scrutinising, analysing, studying, exploring, questioning, stress testing, optimising…creating more for less. There is so much data available that it’s easy to get lost in the noise, but it is this cacophony of data that provides the raw ingredients that lead us to predict just what people will do in a given situation. In fact it is becoming an essential part of the design process and it is powerful stuff.



Predicting the upredictable

As social media envelops our lives, the thirst for information grows, moving us to a position where we simulate scenarios in real time to allow for early built environment design decisions to be made. This maximises future use, improves user experience, comfort and safety; finding the ultimate solution that fits peoples’ needs. Not only that, it also has a real impact that can be felt on the bottom line – dynamic resource estimates can be constructed in confidence, the placement of retail units maximised, staffing managed for peak and off peak times, journey times planned, bottlenecks alleviated etc. ‘Smart’ technology is now so entwined within our lives – in our personal gadgets, our appliances, our cars, our buildings and our cities – that instant decision making is becoming the norm. Actions are logged, mapped and shared

across the globe within seconds of them happening. However, this acceleration of information sharing needs careful consideration; as yet questions over the respect for privacy and ethical use of data remain largely unanswered as the information tidal wave sweeps us along. But what’s next? In the future the information journey will switch from one way to two way traffic allowing people to dynamically interact with their environment; a built environment that can teach us…now there’s a thought.

Buro Happold’s SMART team observe human behaviour and create virtual environments through their sophisticated people movement software. If you would like to know if they can read your mind, contact Dr Shrikant B Sharma:

Predicting the upredictable








When the Copernicus Science Centre opened its doors in 2010, a new generation of scientists were inspired. At last, a place that could enthuse, educate and offer some answers to the big questions on life, the universe and everything: something Copernicus himself would have been proud of. But does it deliver?

Image: Copernicus Science Centre


The Copernicus Science Centre



Y magazine spoke with architect Jan Kubec about his vision for the Centre. We also talked to the Centre’s press officer and a visiting school group to hear their side of the story… By Katarzyna Chwalbinska-Kusek and Katarzyna Filipek

form the shape of the building according to the topography of the land, in other cases we create singular objects inspired by nature as well as introducing greenery in and outside the building. Y: What kind of experience did you envisage the user having? JK: The sequential design gives the visitor a very unique journey through the world of science, culture and fun. The complex is visited each day by 4,000 people who have 4.5 hectares at their disposal to explore. The Centre was designed to give comfort to all users and orientation is easy once you’re inside, even for the first time. The inner structure is very transparent.

Architect - Jan Kubec Y: What was your inspiration for designing the Copernicus Science Centre?

Image: Copernicus Science Centre


The Copernicus Science Centre


The Bzzzz Gallery


JK: I have visited many times. What surprises me positively is the fact that the place is enjoyed by young and old alike. As a father of a seven month old boy The Bzzzz Gallery is my favourite exhibit.

Image: Copernicus Science Centre

JK: The project aimed at mapping the characteristics and topographic features of the area between the left bank of the river Vistula and the water. The complex is a public space functioning in a specific framework - a kind of captured landscape. In our most recent project, the RAr2 Architecture Laboratory, we have been promoting and executing the idea of nature, or its substitute, as a significant part of our work. Sometimes we

Y: Have you visited the Centre yourself and how would you describe your experience?

Y: What’s the best thing about the Centre? KN: The Centre encourages visitors of different age groups to develop their interest in learning and in finding answers to questions about science, nature, human life and the universe. The design allows for this special experience due to easy communication inside the building. A large variety of educational objects within the exhibition, science labs, the planetarium and the discovery park make the environment very rich and motivating. All the natural daylight inside the building makes visitors feel very comfortable. The Centre caters for the needs of all including small children and disabled people. Image: Piotr Dziubak

Katarzyna Nowicka, Press Officer at the Copernicus Science Centre, talks about her affair with the world of science and daily experiences at the Centre.

Y: How has the Centre contributed to the community? KN: The Centre itself was brought to life from a social movement. It is not a competitor to traditional schools or research institutes; it’s not a museum either. The architecture has been very successful in revitalising the neighbourhood and giving new life to the river bank. The garden does not have a gate as we don’t want to be separated from the community.

Y: What made you want to work in the world of science?

Image: Copernicus Science Centre


The Robotics Workshop

KN: I was inspired by the unquestionable magic of the place and how it brings together extremely talented and interesting people who have unique capabilities and knowledge in different areas of science. I am fascinated by an environment that allows me to constantly learn and develop my knowledge of science.



Y accompanied a group of children, aged between eight and eleven years old, who were visiting the centre. They were under the watchful eye of two teachers: Agnieszka Goraj and Michał Janowski. Two pupils: Kuba (8 yrs) and Bartek (11 yrs) were brave enough to talk to us.

Y: Can you explain why people are so eager to visit the Centre? Is it an interest in science, fun or just curiosity?

Image: Piotr Dziubak

Michał Janowski: For some children this is not their first time here, however, personally I have never had the opportunity to visit the Centre.



Y: What do you think about the building itself? AG: It is very modern. I like the combination of glass and concrete, and the large spaces. The decoration does not distract visitors from the exhibits. MJ: I’m so impressed by the spaciousness, even with a large number of visitors there is no problem. But even if there are a lot of visitors, you just need to wait a short time and you can easily see every exhibit. It is important that you don’t have to whisper or visit the exhibits in accordance to the mapped route.


Image: Copernicus Science Centre

Agnieszka Goraj: As a teacher, I’m visiting for the third time. But compared to some of my students this is not an impressive number.

MJ: We can spend a few hours here and there is never a single child with a bored expression.

The Centre’s popular Discovery Park

Y: Is it your first time visiting the Copernicus Science Centre?

Agnieszka with pupils

Agnieszka and Michał

AG: The Copernicus Science Centre has a great reputation and comes recommended by many people. When children are watching the exhibitions, they take an active part in various experiments and they can feel and touch the world of science. It’s multi-sense learning about everything that surrounds us, which is different compared to visiting a museum. You don’t admire exhibits from afar, you interact with them. Some of the exhibits change from time to time, so there is something else worth seeing when you return.

AG: For us, the most important thing is that we don’t have a problem with the supervision of a group. We cannot allow children to be scattered. The design of the Centre enables us to supervise our students, without any fear that one of them will go unnoticed to another part of the building. We watch sequentially all the exhibits, moving easily from one part of the building, to the next.

B: I was really surprised with the earthquake performance. The platform was moving in two directions. You can feel the vibrations present during the earthquake, how it is when two tectonic plates meet. Did you know that the strongest earthquake was in Japan recently? It measured nine degrees on the Richter Magnitude Scale.

Kuba and Bartek Y: Boys – is it your first visit to the Centre? Kuba: I have been here eight times so far! Five times with my dad, two times on a school trip and now with my friends.

Y: Are you very interested in science Bartek? B: Yes, indeed. I read a lot of science books but I like adventure stories as well.

Bartek: This is my third visit.

Y: You visit the Copernicus so often; can I assume that in the future you will be scientists?

Y: What exhibition made the biggest impression on you? K: You can see so many strange and exciting things here – like the Fakir’s Bed. It is covered with nails. I was laying down on it and must say it was quite comfortable, although it pricked a little.

B: Yes, it would be so cool to be a scientist or an engineer… K: My parents say I should be a doctor. Y: What do you think about the building itself? K: I find the architecture really interesting. B: I really like the construction. It looks like a rectangle, but it is not even. Some of the walls are curved and they are in different colours! There is even a garden on the top!

Image: Piotr Dziubak

The Fakir’s bed

Y: What three words best describe the Copernicus Science Centre? K: It is fun, logical and smart. B: (after a long silence) Super, mega and fun!

Scan for more info on Buro Happold’s work in Poland. Or email: katarzyna.chwalbinska-kusek@




Levitated Mass



The Big Picture: Levitated Mass, LACMA, California USA

Images: ŠEric Staudenmaier

The Big Picture

Designed by Michael Heizer, this unique art installation consists of a 346 ton granite boulder that spans a 15 foot wide trench. The rock is supported by concrete wall structures at the Los Angeles Museum of Art Campus (LACMA), and is one of the largest and most ambitious sculptures in Southern California. The installation earned its name because it will appear to levitate above people walking through the deep underground trench. When the boulder was moved from Stone Valley Quarry to the LACMA in late 2011, it was one of the largest formations ever transported, and took the project Designed by Michael Heizer, this unique team – including Buro Happold as structural engineers – over a year of logistical art installation consists of a 346 ton preparations to move it 85 miles. granite boulder that spans a 15 foot wide trench. The rock is supported by concrete wall structures at the Los Angeles Museum of Art, and is one of the largest and most ambitious sculptures in Southern California. The installation earned its name because it appears to levitate above people walking through the deep underground trench. When the boulder was moved from Stone Valley Quarry to the LACMA in late 2011, it was one of the largest formations ever transported, and took the project team – including Buro Happold as structural engineers – over a year of logistical preparations to move it 85 miles.

The Big Picture: Levitated Mass, LACMA, California USA



With prices and availability of fossil fuels becoming more and more challenging, as well as the increasing impact on the environment, it is time to consider new approaches. Buro Happold partner Gavin Thompson examines the need for a universal energy strategy…

Whether you are a domestic energy consumer or the leader of a national government, there are three simple yet key questions you face: can I afford my energy bill, is energy available when I need it and what harm am I doing to others in the process. It could be argued that answers to these questions are sought in the order that they appear – future environmental concerns quickly evaporate if energy is neither affordable or secure, such is the pivotal influence access to energy has on our daily lives. A combination of rising energy prices, fragile and vulnerable supply chains and a growing realisation that the threat to the environment from burning fossil fuels is real all, contribute to the need for strategic planning around energy. So what to do? Well, depending on where the country you are in is in its development cycle, the approach to resolving these growing challenges will vary. 36



In Nigeria, where demand seriously outstrips the local supply infrastructure in and around Lagos, virtually every consumer has a portable petrol generator. It is a solution to a problem, it’s not great but it’s a place you quickly get to if the national energy strategy is weak. And that is one of the key problems – national energy strategy is a long term game, procurement lead times are protracted and complex and the scale of investment is such that the burden must be spread out, often way beyond the terms of western style governments. The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has made a start. It has accepted climate change and embraced what the atmosphere can absorb by way of CO2 over the next forty years (so as not to trigger a rise in temperatures beyond 2ºC), and it has set out some options. The Carbon Plan, which was released last year and is based on the 2050 Pathways model, is a good read.

However, it can be argued that burning imported natural gas in recent years to generate electricity, while more carbon efficient than coal, is driven by short term economics rather than climate change policy and that what lies ahead in terms of carbon reduction is where the real decisions and ‘hard yards’ are to be gained. Energy strategy needs to embrace economics, security and environmental issues with a mix of both demand management and supply side planning. The DECC Carbon Plan document does fall short on setting strong direction, focusing as it does on three possible supply mixes, all of which include an element of nuclear, fossil fuel (with carbon capture) and renewable technologies. The lack of confidence is due in part to trying to second guess future appetite for the legacy issues of nuclear power, whether nascent carbon capture technology will develop at the required rate and whether the storage problem associated with

Image: 2009 Microsoft Corporation and its data suppliers.

Models developed by Buro Happold as part of the London Plan map possible economic scenarios involving energy use over 30 years to determine the perfect balance between saving carbon and saving money.

the transient nature of renewable power generation can be cracked. But confidence can be found, even within the UK’s coalition government. In Europe it would appear that Germany is following one of the more considered and joined up approaches. Turning its back on nuclear power and seeking to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel it is investing heavily in renewable technology. Not just in terms of wind and photovoltaic generation but also in its grid infrastructure, storage technology and electric transport. Germany’s overt goal is to not only become self sufficient by 2030 but also to be a world leader in exporting all aspects of renewable technology. Unfortunately this approach is not widespread. As western legislation increases its grip on emissions, ageing coal fired power stations are proving uneconomical to upgrade and face imminent closure. In the UK a recent

regulator’s report highlighted that such closures will see a reduction in spare generating capacity from 14% to 4% by the winter of 2015. This statistic is too tight for comfort in terms of security. It can be argued that investment in national infrastructure in times of recession not only bolsters economic recovery but can also lay the foundation for sustained economic success. But the lead times for procurement extend far beyond anticipated shortfalls. Local generation and community networks are an alternative that is quicker to deploy, but it’s doubtful they can be coordinated in sufficient capacity to meet these challenges. The key must lie in quick to deploy, aggressive demand reduction. Manage demand for every consumer from commercial to domestic, industry to transportation, so as to spread out the cost of replacing ageing and costly infrastructure. Use a carrot and stick

approach of economic incentives and taxation to really drive down energy consumption, from insulation and system efficiency to changing behaviours and acceptance of new technology. Sometimes changes can be simple and highly cost effective. Recently a large UK developer, British Land, stated they had been able to demonstrate up to 25% savings in electricity use simply through managing the way their buildings operate better. There is more than enough evidence that low hanging fruit exists within the built environment in terms of demand reduction, the key is making it happen. Finding and exploring ways of making economic vehicles like the UK ‘Green Deal’ work are easily achievable within the normal term of a western government – but they need to be given the right priority and support.




By Invitation Only... High in the forest, far from the bustle of the Malaysian city of George Town, the sound of cicadas and chatter fill the air. As evening descends on the Penang Hills, the fauna comes alive as does the animated conversation of a select group of diners. Mike Cook, senior partner at Buro Happold, talks about his ultimate dinner party guests.



Smart CitiesOnly‌ By Invitation

By Invitation Only... Smart Cities



Buckminster Fuller

By Invitation Only...

Bucky has to be one of the most fascinating characters in the field of engineering. I love his holistic approach to the world, and his optimism. At first I thought he was just a designer who created light and efficient forms with grid shells and tensegrity structures but behind this there was a stronger vision that drove his creativity. The Dymaxion car and house were part of his vision that through efficient form we can create more from less, and as a result have more to go round for everyone. I also like the fact that he was not a good student, so often creativity comes from people who do not find the conventional rule helpful and they have to invent their own. I like to tell my students this. I came across a tiny hotel on top of Penang Hill (Penang being an island off the Malaysian Peninsula) with a tribute display to Buckminster Fuller telling of his global gatherings to talk about ‘Spaceship Earth’ and sustainability. I even got the idea that he used to visit the hotel. This is where I think we should have our dinner – on top of the hill, reached only by a little funicular railway and with great views from the terrace of this little, unassuming hotel with a geodesic dome in the garden!

Picasso It seems to me that whatever else I see in the visual arts nothing knocks me sideways more reliably or effectively than Picasso. Not only is his work an endless source of fascination and joy but as a person it seems that he was equally fascinating; a product of a divided Spain, rejecting his homeland and finding solace in France. He seemed to have a furious inner intensity – a creativity that came from inside somewhere and a strongly independent soul.



By Invitation Only…

Maria Callas Maria had such a full life and such a tragic one. You hear such fragility in her voice. It is not always beautiful or controlled but it has power and emotion that I have never found anywhere else. You cannot listen to Callas without it affecting you and feeling that you have heard a soul, not just a voice.

Curtis Stigers We’ll need some music at dinner and I can’t think of anyone better than Curtis Stigers to provide it. He is Mr Cool. I have only just rediscovered him after an evening at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and now he is the perfect sound to end a frantic day or to have on the earphones on another flight. It’s cool blues from down South with a backing sound that’s pure gold.

Norton Simon I don’t think I would necessarily like Norton but I am fascinated by him and admire the determination and skill with which he built up the most stunning private collection of art I have ever seen in the Norton Simon Gallery in Pasadena. Not only is it a microcosm of man’s creative powers across continents and eras but it is set in the most delightful of buildings surrounding a lake. Nature and art mingle in the Californian sunshine. Like the fabulous Getty Center but intimate rather than grand. He made his money in the food, cosmetics and car rental businesses but I’d love to meet him and, if nothing else, thank him for the collection he left behind.

Gustave Eiffel A hero from the past. I went round France looking at his fantastic railway bridges in the Massif Central (en route to St Tropez it has to be said!). He was fascinated by shape and the use of natural forms to create efficient structures. He used to drop things off the Eiffel Tower to test their wind resistance before he decided a wind tunnel would make it easier and less likely to break his models. Of course the Eiffel Tower is a nice reminder that things don’t always start out beautiful but if they are ‘right’ they become beautiful.

Stravinsky I have to have a composer at the table, having spent so much of my spare time immersed in music. I admire Stravinsky as the musical equivalent to Picasso – a genius of immense creativity. His work could fill several lifetimes of other composers, every piece seems to be a reinvention from first principles. It reminds me of the work we do in construction – every project is a fresh set of challenges and solutions. From all I have read I think he could be interesting company too.

Frei Otto Frei was the strongest influence on the way I see engineering – the difference between right and wrong. It is his passion for nature and natural solutions that resonated so strongly with me from an early age. I first discovered him when working as an intern at Ove Arup with Ted Happold (just before Ted set up Buro Happold). I was the young (long haired) student hanging nails on the model for what I still consider to be a phenomenal feat of engineering design, the Multihalle for the 1975 Bundesgartenschau in Mannheim. Frei’s clear vision and creativeness is an inspiration. I remember his conversation being rather interesting too.

By Invitation Only…






Image: Anna Omelchenko /

RESOURCE WEALTH: IS IT ALL GOOD NEWS? When managed successfully, having access to natural or mineral resources can drive a regions’ economy. However, it is important to address the possible downsides of having access to resource wealth. There are a range of different economic and social problems that can potentially arise if things are not handled well by both public authorities and the private sector. Buro Happold and Happold Consulting are currently working in many regions of the world where national economic development is driven in part by the availability of natural or mineral resources, in particular many oil rich nations, especially in the

Middle East. Some of these countries, for example Saudi Arabia, have well established oil/gas based economies, while others, such as Azerbaijan, are only starting to exploit their resources fully. Are there lessons for sustainable development that can be learned from established cases and applied to locations which are entering a phase of rapid development? Y Magazine discusses the issues with Happold Consulting’s Jim Coleman.




Which countries and regions are affected by resource wealth and the issues surrounding it? We’re talking about two categories here: the first are established producers and/or exporters of resources such as oil and gas and economies already strongly based on petro-chemical related wealth. A lot of these countries sit within the Middle East where both Happold Consulting and Buro Happold conduct a lot of business. There has been a long association particularly with Saudi Arabia – which is known as the worlds’ largest oil producer. I’m confident in saying that there is an established group of countries working their natural resources well in that region, although this can vary from place to place. The second category contains a group of interesting countries and regions only now beginning to exploit their natural resources fully. In particular, we’re talking about many parts of Africa, some Latin American countries, central Asia and Russia; although the Russians are already long standing deliverers of oil and gas. Other countries and regions are also beginning to exploit their wealth after being previously constrained due to internal conflict. Kurdistan, based in the north of Iraq, is one of those areas which is likely to be a major oil region in the near future. They will soon realise their potential in exploiting their resources and will be able to generate a healthy income. One thing they must establish though is a solid plan of how to invest that wealth wisely and develop their nation as sustainably as possible. We are now seeing how this wealth is benefiting these established countries but alongside this, we are also seeing the problems it can cause too.

Are there really downsides, economically, to having mineral or resource wealth? On the face of it, there shouldn’t be. It should be a way of creating wealth, an income, and using that income to the benefit of the country. However, there can be side effects that, if not mitigated, can be quite problematic. One of the things that tends to happen when you start exploiting resources is that you begin to quickly get tied into meeting the resource needs of other rapidly developing countries. For example, the rapid development of the Chinese economy has generated major levels of demand from resource providers all

over the world. With all this going on, you will see your currency appreciate because people want to buy your currency in order to buy your resource. This sounds great until you look at the negative impact. The biggest effect, and a potentially harmful one, is that it makes other exports from that country go up in price. So if you’re selling a lot of oil, there’s a big demand for that oil and even though it’s priced in dollars, there is still a demand for that national currency. Every other export from that country becomes more expensive so you tend to crowd out other tradable sectors. Now the big problem with that is that if you start to crowd out other sectors then your economy starts to become more dependent on that resource and less diversified. Middle Eastern countries tend to be highly dependent on exporting oil or gas, which can certainly generate a lot of wealth for a given period of time, although it’s obviously not going to last forever. In the case of the Middle East, it will last for quite awhile, certainly several decades to come, but it will eventually start to run out and you’ll have countries with high exchange rates, that are possibly less diversified than they used to be and very reliant on their waning resource wealth. These are the downsides of poor planning and management.

How does this situation relate to the challenges of large scale urban development and urbanisation? What we see in a lot of countries, as they become wealthier, is that you get an increase in urbanisation, an increase in incomes and a tendency for people to move from rural areas to urban settlements. You will also see an increase in overall population too. This is partly caused by in-migration, as people from other countries try to take advantage of new job opportunities created by the rapid expansion of the economy. Saudi Arabia, for example, is currently experiencing a rapid growth in population and with this will inevitably come a raft of city extensions, new towns, new cities, and new settlements. A problem that maturing cities sometimes have is a lack of infrastructure. This isn’t always the case though as other areas have actually invested in far too much infrastructure more than they will ever need. You’ll see some examples of infrastructure going in, way in




“PROPER STRATEGIC PLANNING IS A NECESSITY TO SUPPORT THE POPULATION OF A NEW SETTLEMENT, OTHERWISE YOU’LL HAVE A DEVELOPMENT WHICH IS VERY ASSET DRIVEN.” advance of other parts of the development and it therefore isn’t utilised properly. So a road may actually lead to nowhere! It’s often a consequence of poor economic and spatial planning and a desire to develop quickly. Proper strategic planning is a necessity to support the population of a new settlement, otherwise you’ll have a development which is very asset driven. This can often result in an unsustainable asset ‘bubble’. A real estate driven strategy is not going to yield a long term sustainable community. We saw this happen in Dubai, where the bubble burst and it hasn’t regained its position. This is another example of not what to do.

For those countries only now starting to experience resource wealth, what specific lessons can be learned from established oil and gas producers? There are some important things to carefully think about and one of them is where exactly to make the right kind of investments. Resource based incomes should be devoted to a range of infrastructure investments, but critically the right kind of developments, in the right place. This would be infrastructure that serves the population in the correct manner, not just infrastructure for the sake of it. You need to think about how communities and populations are going to evolve economically and continue to develop sustainably over a long period of time. Another important area of investment must be education and skills. One of the other downsides of rapid resource based development is that it often draws in significant numbers of workers from outside of the country, leaving the country’s own labour force relatively under-utilised. New cities and settlements need access to high quality education centres, schools, universities, vocational training hubs along with the right attitude to digital and learning technologies. Developing the educational base of the country represents a major investment in its future. It’s very easy for developing countries to forget the bigger picture and concentrate on short term gain. We need to bring their focus back to their long term goals and aspirations.

What role can Happold Consulting and Buro Happold play in supporting sustainable development in these regions? Are there particular skills or insights we can bring to the table? A lot of the work we carry out at Happold Consulting is based on analysis and investigation of economic conditions, with the view of developing long term strategies for sustainable economic growth. We carry this work out not only in existing places but also in new cities or extensions to urban areas. We think about how they are going to survive economically and sustainably in the long term. Again, a lot of it comes down to the role of infrastructure, education, training, and the country’s industrial diversification, whilst ensuring there is a financial base which is not just reliant on resources, but can be internationally competitive. Where Happold Consulting and Buro Happold come together in quite a unique way is in our thinking about infrastructure, the use of energy, the role of utilities and their economic impacts and physical function. Together we are able to provide unique insights into how infrastructure should be planned and engineered in order to achieve maximum social and economic impacts. We can therefore help to maximise the return on investment for our clients. We are also able to put in place mechanisms to measure the long term impacts of these investments in order that modifications and changes can be made along the way in response to external influences. We need to help our current and future clients avoid the mistakes of the past, short term thinking for short term gain, and how to achieve a longer term benefit.

Scan for more info on Happold Consulting’s work.




INNOVATE OR DIE? In a world that is constantly changing, we need to change and adapt with it…new answers are needed for new questions, new solutions needed for new challenges. In this section, Y Magazine looks at how important it is to innovate in today’s built environment and how engineering is stepping up to the mark. We asked three of Buro Happold’s research students to explain why innovation in their field is taking engineering to new heights.




Battersea Power Station redevelopment, London, UK, makes extensive use of existing foundations.

THE FOUNDATIONS As the demand for city centre sites increase and the population becomes denser, reusing old foundations rather than constructing new ones is becoming a real option. Jonathan Dewsbury explains; “most cities are dealing with a lot of underground clutter, for example old foundations, tunnels and old services – below ground congestion if you like. This means that designers are presented with three options when considering how they are going to construct their foundations: avoid, remove or reuse. With the prevailing climate and corporate social responsibility, avoidance is something that cannot go on forever – engineers need to consider alternative options.” Removing existing foundations can be costly, cause disturbance to surrounding buildings, and effect future foundation capacity; so reusing is now a serious consideration. Of course it’s not without

its pitfalls – existing foundations might not fit the structural grid of the new proposal or they may behave very differently to newly installed foundations. Without careful analysis this difference in behaviour may cause superficial cracking in facades and walls. Such unsightly damage will reduce the inhabitable lifetime of the building. Jonathan’s research into reusing foundations has adopted innovative modelling to investigate these issues. “We have modelled a full building using 3D soil pile structure interaction analysis,” he explains. “The model has allowed us to assess when it is feasible to reuse old foundations, and help manage the risks associated with foundation reuse. This work goes a long way to allowing engineers to demonstrate to clients that reuse doesn’t mean compromise, although Jonathan accepts that “there is some confidence building to be done.”

While reuse still isn’t the first choice for clients, the research shows that the benefits of reuse can easily outweigh the downsides, with savings on materials, time and costs to programme all achievable. “Initial upfront costs are a little higher, but when you look at the whole building costs the difference is marginal. Getting in early doors in the design process is crucial to success.” Buro Happold is one of the first practices to use existing piled foundations on a project (for example Bow Bells House). The modelling carried out by Jonathan during his research has given Buro Happold an insight into the technical barriers associated with foundation reuse, and potential ways to overcome them. The expertise gained means that Buro Happold can advise their clients with confidence about the potential to reuse foundations. Ultimately, reusing foundations can save money, and in doing so it also contributes to reducing the carbon footprint.




Manufacturing bricks using traditional materials at the Atturaif UNESCO World Heritage site, KSA.

BRICKS AND MORTAR Similarly, increasing awareness around techniques and uses would also increase the use of natural materials in buildings. Part of Natasha Watson’s research looks at the reasons why the use of natural building materials isn’t catching on in the UK. “The demand for buildings with larger spans and more storeys means that non-domestic buildings now favour steel and concrete, while many housing developers stick with materials they know - such as bricks and blocks – to benefit from economies of scale,” Natasha explains. “But these issues can be overcome by designing the form and fabric of the building to complement each other and by publicising buildings which have used low impact building materials to increase awareness…many of the assumptions that they won’t work architecturally, or that they aren’t cost effective, are myths.” The use of natural building materials have far reaching benefits: as well as creating




buildings that are aesthetically unique, the contribution to a carbon free future is the most significant. Materials such as rammed earth, hemp-lime and straw bale, amongst others, can offer very low embodied energy and toxicity; reducing water usage, waste and haulage costs. There are a number of examples worldwide of how effectively low impact materials can be used in buildings when innovative thinking is applied. The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education uses a plethora of low impact building materials from rammed earth to hemp-lime, while the Atturaif UNESCO World Heritage Site will use more than half a million adobe blocks which are made from earth mixed with straw. “It will cause more damage in the long term to not be innovative with the use of these materials…as well as losing the skills needed to work with them, the long term cost will be environmental.”

Natural light fills the Accenture staff cafe.


It is also possible to improve people’s wellbeing and productivity by thinking innovatively about the internal environment and how people use space. Trevor Keeling is studying for an EngD in Environmental Sensory Design, looking at how buildings affect their occupants through sensory experience. “Flat walls, flat floors, flat lighting, a constant 21C, silence…it’s not golden, it’s boring, unstimulating, monotonous and it’s stopping us being productive and happy,” Trevor explains. “its not necessarily just about designing an optimised space either, for instance, research shows that if you give people the freedom to decorate their own spaces they will be happier and more productive.” By thinking about people, buildings and technology as an interactive system these types of insights can be realised.

How sensory stimuli interact is another key element in creating productive, more satisfying environments to live and work in. Trevor’s work considers all the sensory elements that Buro Happold contributes to, such as thermal sensations, acoustics and lighting and how these create an experience that improves our wellbeing and productivity. Thinking in terms of positive experiences rather than minimum comfort standards helps redefine design priorities. Take our approach to lighting: “outside the light varies in colour and intensity throughout the day; generally bluer in the morning and redder in the evening. These natural variations are detected by the non visual cells in our eyes and drive our circadian rhythms that kick start our bodies in the morning and make us feel sleepy in the evening. So what

happens when we travel to work in a train and then sit in a room lit with fluorescent lights; all day spent under light of a similar colour and intensity?” Ultimately, Trevor says, always striving to meet consistent minimum standards means that engineers may have missed out on important elements of our sensory experience, and therefore less stimulating environments. “Using the interaction of different sensory environments - or even just considering the importance of variation in the world around us - can create a sense of place. It is important that engineers understand the importance of the sensory experiences that we have every day and how this can be brought to bear in building design.”






It was home to more than 1,000,000 people, some of the universe’s most advanced technology, and the size of a small moon. Yet the Death Star was compromised by a teenager, an old man, an iPhone on wheels, Google Translate, a smuggler and Bigfoot. Then was blown up by a rag tag bunch with luck on their side. We can only ask ourselves one question in light of this shocking lapse in security: what went wrong? As a highly sensitive installation the Death Star should have been one of the safest places in the galaxy. We are led to believe that the Empire’s best resources went into creating the spacestation, so why did they overlook some very simple tenets of safety and security, like not letting unapproved hardware interface with your garbage compactors? We have, therefore, taken it upon ourselves to examine the key failings of the Death Star in a hope that we can all learn from the Empire’s mistakes.




Illustration: SCIONART

Scan for more info on Buro Happold’s Safe & Secure capability.




Threat and risk assessment

Security master plan

Security concept

Not following the principles of risk management and underestimating threats led to the destruction of two Death Stars and the loss of over two million lives. The Galactic Empire has many enemies and the universe itself can be a dangerous place. Thorough analysis from a security consultant would have identified a range of threats, including:

In the context of a galaxy the Death Star is an effective mobile weapons platform and a fully operational battle station. Nevertheless, to secure the Death Star a range of internal, galactic and universal threats should be addressed as identified in the TARA.

This is where the security design of the Death Star begins. The security concept is the high level plan that outlines how security risks will be mitigated. Typical concepts that would have made the Death Star more secure include:

Asteroid collision Black hole encounters Rebel attacks Sabotage Stormtrooper unrest Evaluating and prioritising threats in terms of consequences and likelihood, and working in consultation with the dark side to produce a threat and risk assessment (TARA), would have allowed specific risks to be targeted and either accepted, mitigated, transferred or eliminated.

While the Death Star’s weapon systems were extremely effective against large ships, they were inadequate against small agile craft. This was a significant vulnerability that the Rebel Alliance exploited to penetrate the Death Star’s defence grid and ultimately destroy the station. The security masterplan would need to consider how the Death Star fits within the Imperial Battlefleet as a whole and integrate with its security concept and strategy.

Not relying on single points of failure, this would typically mean designing multiple Death Stars and redundancy for critical spaces. Layering security measures within the Death Star – in one instance rebel fighters managed to fire missiles through the exhausts. Making use of decoy Death Stars so that the actual one is much harder to target. Introducing levels of trust that are not purely based on attire and clothing e.g. Luke Skywalker dressed as an Imperial Stormtrooper.

“BACK TO EARTH” OUTSIDE THE EMIRATES STADIUM The Buro Happold engineered Emirates Stadium is an excellent example of proportionate security design. While it doesn’t protect Arsenal fans from Jedi attacks, dark side forces or an asteroid collision it does mitigate a number of security risks and has been held up as a model of how to design security into the heart of a new building. The cannons located outside the stadium have not been placed to shoot down approaching TIE fighters; instead they are a creative and emblematic way of enforcing vehicle stand-off from the stadium building and protecting




match goers from a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device). The concrete ‘Arsenal’ letters are installed for the same purpose. The stadium was designed in conjunction with a number of stakeholders including the Metropolitan Police Service, Islington Borough Council and the Arsenal Football Club stadium management team and was commended by Lord West (the UK Government’s Counter Terrorism and Security Minister) in his report into the vulnerability of crowded places to a terror attack.

Security strategy and detailed design

Implementation and construction

Security operations

The security strategy provides more detail about how each concept will be implemented to allow a detailed design to be developed.

During the implementation and construction stage the security design is shared with a number of outside parties, especially those that will build the installation. It is important that these parties are screened to provide a high level of trust. Constructors that may be affiliated with the Rebel Alliance should be filtered out.

Anyone could be an undercover rebel. One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of security is security operations. This stage of the security process ensures that the security strategy is implemented appropriately. This not only means ensuring that those on board the Death Star are aware of the security culture, but also that security operatives such as Imperial troopers are properly trained and able to use all the security measures and are fully familiar with the policies and procedures.

The security strategy for the Death Star needs to rely on a mix of: Physical and technological security measures: e.g. the conference room, which is vulnerable to infiltration or bugging, should have robust interlocked security doors and electronic counter measures. System authentication and policies: the security design should prevent external entities e.g. R2D2 from overriding systems such as access control. Security operations: including the deployment of Imperial Stormtroopers.

This was one of the biggest vulnerabilities with the Death Star as the plans were allowed to fall into rebel hands. To protect against this the security design should be encrypted, watermarked and where possible not issued in its entirety to a single party. This is always extremely difficult and can be a real challenge to implement.

This was overlooked by Darth Vader when the Millennium Falcon was captured. The Rebels managed to escape detection because Imperial troopers failed to properly inspect the spacecraft payload and authenticate the crew members.

Detailed holographic drawings and schematics alongside specifications would be developed at this stage to allow the Death Star security measures to be procured and constructed.









































Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS The magazine of Buro Happold


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Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS Features, interviews and ideas from Buro Happold Issue One


Y - Issue 1  

Y MAGAZINE: FINDING THE ANSWERS Features, interviews and ideas from BuroHappold Engineering. THE BIG PICTURE: INFINITY LOOP BRIDGE CHINA EN...

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