Our 25th year has been quite a year – Latest
As we say farewell to 2019, we would like to thank everyone for being part of the Elliott Wood family and contributing to our success this past year. We are thankful for our amazing clients, partners and supporters, as well as our outstanding employees for paving the way to a historic milestone in 2019. Here are some of the highlights of 2019:
We’re a quarter of a century old
In September we celebrated our 25th anniversary by hosting a party in our new office, The Building Society in the heart of Fitzrovia. Rather than looking back over 25 years of innovation and award-winning projects we felt it was more appropriate to look forward to the next 25 years and really challenge ourselves and the wider sector to think about the impact we want to have for today, tomorrow and the future. To this end we launched our ETHICS manifesto based on six broad pillars: Education - Technology - Health - Infrastructure - Culture – Sustainability. This is not about us, or our work, but about some of the big questions that need to be answered by us and by our industry. This is a call to all our clients, collaborators and friends to get involved and help us to engineer a better society.
New year, new office: The Building Society
Reflecting on 25 years in the industry, we were struck not only by the amount of change we have seen but by the amount needed to make a real difference to the world we live in. As a practice we are aware that we cannot make this change alone. In response we have founded The Building Society – a flexible co-working space in central London for the built environment sector. Supported by talks, initiatives and a member network, The Building Society is a place for people of all disciplines and backgrounds to work together, collaborate, debate and lead change. If you’re committed to sustainability, creativity and building a better society then we encourage you to join us.
Marmalade Lane and Kettle’s Yard got the recognition they deserved
Marmalade Lane, Cambridge’s first cohousing community project won the Social Housing Project of the Year as part of the 2019 Structural Timber Awards and the highly coveted 2019 RIBA National Awards as well as a 2019 National Urban Design Award – Public Sector. Kettle Yard, our extension of a house-turned-art gallery project in Cambridge also won a 2019 RIBA National Award.
Some Project Highlights
Education Design Unit: Unlocking creative solutions for the education sector
Earlier this year we have joined forces with a top team of architects and designers to launch the Education Design Unit, a brand-new partnership established to revolutionise procurement, design and delivery in the education sector. Together with Make Architects, Max Fordham, Gustafson Porter + Bowman and Stephen Hall Management Consultant, the Education Design Unit is a one-stop shop, offering a comprehensive scope of services, including architecture, interior design, landscape design, structural and civil engineering, and building services engineering.
The Building Society Events
Flexible buildings are necessary to make education relevant for all
Standardisation is one of the biggest problems facing schools in the UK, according to a panel of experts. But if built environment professionals can find a way around it, they can help reboot the education system. Elliott Wood hosted the discussion at The Building Society, to identify issues in the current school system and explore practical solutions that could be offered by the construction industry. The panel, chaired by education innovator Marcus Orlovsky, said that a school system based on cookie-cutter designs and box-ticking was something they were all battling against. This setup often fails students who don’t fit the traditional education models, they explained.
House on Fire: 10 things we’ve learned about timber construction and fire safety
In November, we convened a group of built environment professionals at The Building Society to host an honest and frank discussion to explore the use of timber in house building. Here are 10 things we learned about timber construction and safety.
Upcoming talks and events
How empathy can help us engineer a better society / How empathy leads to better design
This workshop will provide participants with a better understanding of the needs of different stages of life and ever-changing human requirements. Participants will experience their surroundings from the point of view of an older person, pregnant woman, a person in a wheelchair, a blind person or a person with hearing problems.
Designing buildings for health and happiness
What if we could design places that made you mentally and physically well, that make you happy? Built environment professionals together with well-being and health experts will discuss how we as a sector can make a real difference to the spaces in which we live, work and play.
Taking school design to students
This collaborative workshop will partner Year 9 and Year 10 students with architects, structural engineers and other design professionals to look at how we could design a school fit for the future.
Brexit. The night before. The night after
Aimed at professionals in the built environment, this roundtable event provides a forum for discussion around how we as a sector can gear ourselves up in order to thrive in the face of uncertainty.
Start the new year with a new way of working, in a space driven by a sense of purpose.
We invite you to work with us at The Building Society for free through the month of January. We are a flexible co-working space created to support a collaborative community interested in the built environment. Supported by a member network and programmes of talks, events and learning opportunities, together we want to inspire change and engineer a better society.
55 Whitfield Street, London W1T 4AH
+44(0)207 499 5888
Engineering a Better Society
It’s always been important for us to give back in any way we can, in 2019 we did a few things, some old, some new, but all to try and help where we can. Our staff take great pride in this, and the initiatives are often born from their inclination to bring a benefit to society. It’s why engineering a better society starts with our team and flows into our projects, and through to our charitable initiatives. Here are just a few of the things we have done.
For the past 25 years we have always tried to do our part, and in 2019 it’s more important than ever, especially considering only 9% of our global economy is circular. Of the 92.8 billion tons of materials, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter our economy annually – only 8.3 billion are ever re-used.
As part of recycling week, we looked at the statistics of head office in Wimbledon for the past 12 months:
6735 KG’s recycled
325 KG’s of waste to energy
1188 KG’s of anaerobic digestion
9 Tonnes of CO2 saved
76 Trees saved
535 KWH generated
Overall our recycle rate was 96%.
Read more about what we are trying to achieve in our recently published Manifesto, and check out some of the bigger issues we are looking at within sustainability here.
Three Peaks Challenge - Climb the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in only 24 hours.
Fifteen of our team took part in the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for SARAID, a charity dedicated to trying to save the lives of innocent victims of disaster as well as relieving human suffering around the world regardless of colour, creed, religion and political persuasion. They provide emergency disaster response in the UK and worldwide in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, extreme weather events and areas of structural collapse.
The team successfully scaled all three peaks and raised £2,679 for SARAID.
Since then, one of our engineers Suzie Cooper, the instigator of the challenge, has been in Albania with SARAID, providing her expertise following the recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
Better in a Building than a Whale
We set up a partnership with Make Architects to assess the use of plastic in a building's lifecycle, followed by a white paper. We call this initiative Better in a Building than a Whale, the goal is to minimise the plastic consumption’s negative effects for future generations, towards Engineering a Better Society.
swiMIPIM for Streets of London
Being engineers, we feel a responsibility for how the built environment is lived in, and not just its structures and design. For us, engineering a better society goes beyond our projects, ensuring the people who use our cities, streets and buildings are safe and thriving. Streets of London is a UK charity that funds projects where the money will make a real difference to the lives of homeless people in London.
Last year we started with 5 swimmers, this year 23 people braved the challenging weather conditions (wind – not sun!) to complete the event. Relative beginners to world class athletes swam with a great sense of camaraderie, kept safe by our local partners Agence Seafirst with kayak and boat support. The swim starts and lands in front of the London Stand and was watched by the crowd with an air of supportive incredulity!
Stay in touch for details swiMIPIM 2020.
London to Cannes, by bike
Three of our team decided to cycle to MIPIM in Cannes, that’s a leisurely 1,500 km in five days… This was part of Club Peloton’s charity ride to raise funds for Cyclists Fighting Cancer, MSA Trust, Tom's Trust and Coram. Over the years, the ride has contributed to Club Peloton’s total grants of more than £3.4 million! The riders successfully made it to Cannes, although slightly worse for wear when they arrived. We are still to persuade one of them to get there in time to take part in swiMIPIM..
Inspiring the next generation
We worked with Bryanston Square Foundation to host Year 10 students from Littlehampton Academy and Year 12 students from Portslade Aldridge Academy at our London office to learn about the role of structural and civil engineers in shaping a more sustainable future.
The Bryanston Square Foundation are a team of education change-makers helping schools rethink how learning should be structured, delivered and measured and where it should take place. The charity also aims to inspire underprivileged students throughout their studies, setting up an inspiration springboard on how they can use their talents to make a positive difference to the world.
Through a series of interactive sessions, our engineers encouraged the students to discover the unseen engineering behind most of our lives. They explored what it would feel like to plan a city, balancing a mix of public and private services and transport grids, whilst also considering urban policies and future-proofing for the benefit of all residents. How will we live, work, play and what does this mean for the city of the future?
We were happy to hear that they enjoyed their visits at our office and that their overriding impression was just how much of what we take for granted has been designed, at some stage, by engineers:
Breaking Boundaries and Fostering Collaboration
Our continuing patronage of the London Festival of Architecture, the world’s largest annual architecture festival, saw us take part in looking at the 2019 theme of ‘Boundaries’.
The rate of change affecting the environment and society today is huge. System change is urgent if we want future generations to thrive. And for new and different ways of thinking to truly flourish, we need to break all unnecessary boundaries and foster collaboration between professions, especially in the built environment.
Earlier this year, in the first video of our Engineering a Better Society series, we spoke to Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture, about the exciting changing relationship between architects and engineers:
“When I started out as an architect, it was generally thought that the architect did the drawings and then the engineer worked out how big it ought to be. But that changed! The engineer is brought in right at the beginning of the problem solving and I think that’s really important. Bringing together all these people to deliver benefits to society right across the board.”
Opposite our new office, The Building Society, is a homeless center the provides a hot meal to the homeless each day. It is hoping to soon offer a first-of-its-kind mental health drop-in service. To do this, the Soup Kitchen is fundraising to recruit a professional support worker to allow regulars at the centre to receive help whenever they need it two or three days a week. To help them reach their target, our team kindly donated a substantial amount. To read more or donate, visit their website: Thisisgoodwork