B 150 civil engineering futures: The 150th anniversary celebrations of the study of civil engineering in Denmark

Lotte Bjerregaard Jensen (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review


    Foreword B150 –Civil Engineering Futures consists of interviews made, articles written, and projects presented in connection with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the study of civil engineering in Denmark. Instead of a historical retrospect, it was decided to look into the future. What challenges will the next 150 years bring civil engineers? Researchers and lecturers at DTU’s Department of Civil Engineering (known as DTU Byg) suggested possible events, and we also consulted civil engineers and their business partners in the building industry. In this way, a programme was put together consisting of free, public lectures by international experts, and workshops and master classes on this question open to everyone in the building industry. The use of glass as a construction material would have been considered impossible a few years ago. But work on achieving complete transparency was a major theme in twentieth century architecture. Together, civil engineer Peter Rice and architect Ian Ritchie created a paradigm shift with their revolutionary ideas for glass facades supported by cables. Glued and bolted constructions made entirely of glass are now a reality in small-scale projects, yet the story of transparency and dematerialisation is far from complete. New construction materials have also come from new knowledge at the nano-scale. Design at the molecular level opens the way for materials with completely new properties and options, e.g. active materials, designed to cope with some specific climatic challenge or clean the air. With nanotechnology, the artificial and the natural move closer together; this is the perspective for civil engineer Chris McCarthy’s work all over the world. And what is new is not just the way the construction materials are put together; they also require a huge investment in new production equipment and working processes for the craftsmen who use them. Completely new thinking is needed when an electrical impulse is used to improve the penetration of a chemical. The same applies when classical materials like concrete are given new properties or when a previously passive insulation material is altered to play an active role in a building. The Design Master Class was for architects, civil engineers and students. It was led by Richard Horden, who is not only the head of a design department at Munich Technical University, but also works on design in his own company in London. The theme for the design project was ‘Touch the earth lightly’ – ultra-lightweight constructions interposed between the human body and the climate. Ultra-lightweight constructions are also the basis for the work of civil engineer Werner Sobek in his capacity as head of the legendary ILEG (Institute for Lightweight Structures). But as time has gone on, he has both collaborated on major architectural projects and, in other cases, gone his own way. His comprehensive knowledge of science and architecture, and especially of construction and materials, has enabled Werner Sobek to develop a technically advanced form of aesthetics. The Master Class in low energy buildings was led by civil engineer, Svend Svendsen, a Professor at DTU Byg. Together with colleagues and students, he has achieved an extensive knowledge of Integrated Design. In fact, the situation is that our knowledge of the energy performance of buildings is so complete now that the bottleneck in the creation of low-energy buildings is no longer in the technology, but in the way the industry works. Integrated Design is a concept that ranges over all the various work processes necessary from the earliest beginnings of a project to its completion in the low-energy building. The master class practised using ‘ID Build’, a free-ware program developed by DTY Byg, which facilitates integrated design. The architect Thomas Herzog is one of the pioneers of Integrated Design and, together with the Frauenhofer Institute in Germany, has helped create a new standard for sustainable building. One day of the master class was devoted to lectures by civil engineers and architects from Denmark and abroad who talked about their own experience with Integrated Design. The anniversary event was rounded off with another important topic related to sustainability – a Workshop on Traffic. The workshop discussed traffic prognoses and the way they are used in the preparation of urban transport and traffic strategies. Civil engineer Jonas Eliasson spoke about the experience in Sweden of developing a database for traffic prognoses. The main Anniversary Conference on 16 November offered a number of seminars organised by the professional associations and lectures by civil engineers Stephen Selkowich and Cecil Balmond. In collaboration with the architect Renzo Piano, Stephen Selkowich has developed and tested low-energy façade systems; and Cecil Balmond’s visionary use of his extensive knowledge of architecture, science, construction and building opened our eyes for totally new possibilities in civil engineering.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherDTU and Realdania
    Number of pages144
    ISBN (Print)978-877877251-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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