where would we be without architecture.

Imagine a world without the Shard or the Eiffel Tower, this is a world without architecture. We explore the impact architecture has on our world today.

explore stem

the art of architecture.

Architecture, the art of designing and constructing buildings is an essential part of our modern lives.  The role of an architect plays a vital part in contributing to the growth of the UK economy, and the current skills shortage means that more are needed in order to keep up with forecasted growth.

Still not clear about what an architect does? It’s an architect’s job to provide the vision and blueprints for a building so that construction workers such as labourers, handymen, and design engineers can bring their ideas to life. Combining science, technology, engineering, mathematics (with a sprinkle of aesthetics) architecture is a true STEM career. 

Architects have long been creating monuments which capture the imagination. Architectural styles reflect the needs, stresses, politics, economics, and desires of the day, while also shaping the lives of the people it serves. We’ll look at three important architectural breakthroughs that have shaped history and inspired the next generation of modern-day architects.

the sydney opera house.

The iconic modern and expressionist design of the Sydney Opera house was the brainchild of Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Breaking away from the conventional cubic stylings of modern architecture, Utzon created a building which captured the imagination of the entire world.

Originally, the construction of the building began in 1959 and was scheduled to take four years to complete, however as we all know, construction often doesn’t follow plans. In fact, the masterpiece of modern architecture took 14 long years to complete and was finally opened in 1979. Today, employing over 860 workers, it remains a significant tourist attraction for Sydney, worth an estimated $4.6 billion, with 8.2 million people from Australia and around the world visiting the landmark each year.

hs2 railway.

The lead architects of the ambitious High Speed 2 (HS2) railway line are leading creative firms Grimshaw Architects and Wilkin Eyre. Planned to operate between London and the North, the HS2 aims to boost the economy and improve transport between London and Northern cities with ministers predicting that around 40,000 new jobs will be created from the London-West Midlands section.  

With an enormous £6.6 billion awarded by the government, engineering and construction work is said to start this year (2018), and the civil engineering alone is expected to create 16,000 new jobs.

the shard.

After the collapse of the World Trade Centre, architects and engineers scrambled to reconsider the design of extremely tall structures in order to make them safer and more resistant to damage. London’s Shard is one of the results. Award-winning structural engineer Roma Agrawal, who spoke to the Telegraph what it’s like being a woman in STEM, worked on the construction alongside architect Renzo Piano,  who claimed to have designed the building with the idea of traditional London spires and masts sailing ships in mind. However, as the building is now dominating the London skyline, it was described by English Heritage to be a “glass shard through the heart of historic London.” Conversely,  an infographic by Raconteur (and shared by theshard.com) groups it in with the world’s most beautiful buildings. It’s certainly divisive. 

At a height of 309.6 metres, the Shard is the UK’s tallest building and is constructed with 95% recycled materials and 11,000 glass panels. Its unique construction has been designed to maintain stability, with post-tensioned concrete and a sway tolerance of 400 millimetres. The teams of engineers and construction workers achieved some notable feats for UK construction: the largest concrete pour, the first use of jump-lift construction, and the first use of inclined hoist. Whatever your opinions on the controversial high rise -you can’t deny - it sure beats the Gherkin. 

With so many developments in STEM, people joining the field can look forward to creating the next wave of iconic structures admired the world over.

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