What first interested you about Architectural Tech and Engineering?
[Jennifer] Since early age, my passion is always in music, architecture and science. I like to built things using Lego a lot and main influence in technology and engineering was from my Dad, who is a chartered Civil and Structural engineer.
He has retired but the highlight of his career was as a Procurement Specialist Consultant at the World Bank and I grew up listening to him sharing his passion of highways, road/toll and bridges design as well as visiting places locally and abroad to survey the site and surrounding Infrastructure. Fascinating!
I always wanted to pursue a career that is aligned with my passion in architecture and engineering so the path started when I decided to take on A level in Art and Design, Physics and Mathematic and then continue on to enrol myself onto the BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology course at Brighton University. At the time, it wasn’t very easy to find a course that married both architecture and science/technology/engineering together. So I was really pleased to get myself onto Architectural Technology course. After graduating with a first class Honours with sandwich course, I continued on to specialise further in the sustainability arena by producing an MPhil thesis relating to embodied transport energy of prefabricated timber wall panelling unit. While I was finishing the write up of my thesis, I was offered a job at BRE (Building Research Establishment), where I further my expertise and knowledge within the sustainability arena.
My passion for STEM subjects continues on while I was at BRE and I channelled this by being an active STEMNET School ambassador.
With my professional experience and expertise, I was very keen to bring this back to the academic arena and providing this first hand professional experience back to students – they are the future in the construction industry. I joined London South Bank University in September 2013 as the Senior Lecturer in Architectural Technology and in 2014 I formally took on the role of Course Directorship for the BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and BSc (Hons) Architectural Engineering. I continue to work very closely with CIAT, CIOB and the Engineering professional bodies, to ensure that students are fully equipped with the essential employability skills they needed once they graduated.
What are the emerging technologies that you can see truly adapting future of the the built environment?
[Jennifer] It’s very difficult to pinpoint to just one particular technology. I think technologies that are flexible and adaptable, able to be implemented easily, cost effective and those that able to reduce/eliminate the dependency on fossil fuel would be the best emerging technologies that can truly adapt to the future of the built environment.
How are sustainability and efficiency requirements in building projects, affecting architectural design?
[Jennifer] The use and implementation of renewable technologies, Building Information Modelling, smart metering, and application of advanced sustainable technology materials will help provide a more sustainable building, but this alone will not be enough. There is no point in implementing all the state of the art technologies, if for example, the particular building is constructed poorly, not airtight, not well insulated or if the orientation of the building hasn’t been designed and constructed to maximise passive solar gain. So, sustainability and efficiency requirements will have to work hand in hand with the architectural design of the building.
As clients and building users are more tuned in and push for sustainable buildings, there are a number of environmental assessment method such as BREEAM, LEED and Passivhaus that has been widely implemented as it helped in designing sustainable and efficient building. However, without client’s or building user’s push to sustainability, it is very easy to use these environmental assessment as a tick box exercise, which resulting in technology and sustainability aspect being added into a particular building as a rushed add on rather than as a holistic sustainability approach that fit a particular architectural design intention. It is crucial therefore that both sustainability and efficiency requirements and architectural design are aligned to deliver the best sustainable building that fit for purpose, now and in the future.
Jennifer will be participating in 2 panel discussions at London Build:
Smarter Buildings – Technology as a Facilitator for a Smarter Future at 2.30pm in the Conference Area on October 27th
Achieving Sustainability Through Design – Delivering Building Efficiency at 3.40pm in the Conference Area on October 27th.