Diary: Imperial College/Serpentine Pavilion/University of Austin Texas

13 - 1

Yesterday morning was a first. I gave a presentation to 80 students at Imperial while holding a baby in my hip. The presentation was part of the kick-off day for the Expedition-Imperial 2013 Constructionarium week (Event Facebook page; Think Up news piece – soon). The Expeditionengineer due to give the presentation had to go to a meeting in Athens; since I’m the person at Think Up who knows probably most about the Constructionarium it was easiest for me to replace him, even though I didn’t have any child care cover for our daughter. She didn’t seem to mind. She chirped loudly a few times (Imperial presentation at eight months can be the first line of her CV) and the audience certainly weren’t bothered!

Pushing the buggy north out of the college I stumbled upon this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, pictured. The structure is wonderfully intriguing to approach. You have a sense that there are spaces and surfaces inside but you can’t see where they begin and end. The people inside therefore appear to be floating inside a sea of addition signs.

There I received a birthday present, George Monbiot’s ‘Feral‘. Learning from nature is a regular strand in my thinking at the moment (see my post on Hazel Hill to see the sort of thing I mean), and so I expect this book will be of great interest.

I hurried home to prepare dinner for our evening guest, Gregory Brooks, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin and who is responsible for third year design studios at in the Architectural Engineering programme. Gregory is faculty director for the Emerging Technologies Programme, a study abroad programme for engineering and architecture students that takes place every two years in London. Here, they visit the architectural engineering sites and to tour the offices of architecture and engineering practices in the capital. I first met Gregory with his cohort of students two years ago when they first visited Expedition. Back then I introduce them to our Workshed site, and ever since I have noticed a significant blip on our Google Analytics over the city of Austin. I was delighted therefore to present once more two weeks ago to this year’s group of visitors.

Gregory’s work in developing the programme, and in developing a set of online architectural engineering online teaching resources is impressive (for example, see AEWorld, a very comprehensive blog on projects of architectural and engineering interest -to his credit, one of the most popular blogs on WordPress.com) . Our discussion over dinner was  packed with ideas for mutual cooperation and sharing resources, which I look forward to exploring in future.