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Arup Community Engagement



Arup staff across the UK have been mentoring sixth form students for the past 6 months, as a part of the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) by Arup’s Strategic Partner the Engineering Development Trust (EDT).

Andrej Cebela (Fire), Christine Pongratz (Fire), and Lottie McCarthy (BEL G), all STEMNET ambassadors in London, worked with seven sixth form students (ages 16-17) from City and Islington College. STEMNET is a program which highlights the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths to local students through activities with local professionals ranging from “science days” to longer projects and competitions.

Over the course of the EES project, the students had weekly visits by their working professional engineering mentors, full day workshops, visits to Arup offices (Fitzroy Street) and a final celebration day to present their work to a committee of assessors. A real life engineering project brief was set by the mentors, entitled “Finding New Life in an Old Building” – their task was to choose a building in London to apply the concept of “adaptive re-use”. The students were to visit and survey the building, then design a retrofit to the building, considering the change of occupancy, structure, material, and sustainability, and fire safety. The report and presentation were completed as if they were the engineers presenting a proposal to the client. 

The students chose the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in London, where they developed a design by first studying the current building and then making proposals best suited for the area and its users. The final design adapted the building to include a leisure centre (sports and swim centre) and a cinema on the top floor, using a timber structure (having considered its structural, sustainable, and fire safety properties) including a truss structure to transfer load over the swimming pool area providing a large uninterrupted space. To analyse fire risk the students applied performance based design, and chose to apply a phased evacuation procedure. 

As mentors, Andrej, Lottie and Christine provided guidance, material, and research documents to inform their design at weekly meetings. The students learned to use software including Autodesk Revit (taught by Lottie) and Navisworks (taught by Andrej) to model and visualise the proposals, and used a laser cutter to build a physical model.

At the celebration assessment day, the students presented their design considerations, 3D Navisworks model and display stand to assessors. The team was very successful in their presentation delivery, final 63-page long report and interviews by the assessors, and were all awarded CREST Gold Awards.

If you are interested in mentoring students in programs for the EDT or becoming a STEMNET mentor, please contact Key Account Managers Catherine Rankine (London) or Richard Fletcher (Regional Offices).

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