Sixth Form

16 March 2023

The engineering of skyscrapers

Mrs Brudenell, Head of Physics and Sustainability Champion

The All-Party Parliamentary Engineering Group meets three times a year, over lunch at the House of Lords, to debate key developments in engineering. We were privileged to once again be invited to attend, alongside students from schools across the country, members of the engineering industry as well as members of parliament.

Over a delicious meal, we heard from three inspiring speakers who were so passionate about their work: Professor Hanif Kara OBE, Founder of AKT II; Marta Galiñanes-Garcia, Design Director of AKT II; and Senior Design Manager of Laing O’Rourke, Natasha Bellamy.

We learnt about the engineering behind skyscrapers, including the ‘Cheesegrater’ The Leadenhall building in London, and the new Central Bank of Iraq Tower in Baghdad, discussing how vital high-rise buildings are when it comes to accommodating the world’s growing population.

Another area that was discussed was how civil engineering and the weather go hand in hand, particularly when it comes to building high-rise buildings that need to withstand wind and changing weather conditions. We also learnt about the need for carbon-neutral building materials and the need for buildings to be more sustainable, discussing the recently built Mjøstårnet – a 280ft skyscraper that has been built with a timber frame instead of steel, pushing the limits of architecture and sustainability.

The speakers talked about some projects that they had worked on themselves and spoke about the interdependence of architecture and civil engineering. The Q&A session at the end allowed students to ask questions with lots of discussion about how we can progress to make skyscrapers more environmentally friendly, which is something that will be vital for the next generation of engineers and architects that we would be a part of.

We left with a newfound appreciation for why high-rise living may be necessary in the future, and how engineers are working to make this a sustainable option for future generations.

Mrs Brudenell, Head of Physics and Sustainability Champion

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