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IABSE Annual Lecture 2019 and Thames Boat Tour

23/05/2019 @ 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm


This Year’s IABSE Annual Lecture is a special one; we’ll firstly be treated to a Lecture by Guy Nordenson, entitled “What We Do”, followed by dinner aboard a boat on the Thames!

“What We Do”, Guy Nordenson

“This then is the engineer’s principal destructive weakness, to play Iago to the architect, or indeed to another engineer, Othello.” – Peter Rice 1992

The role of the structural engineer today bears similarities to that diagnosed by Peter Rice near the end of his far too brief career, but it has also changed. Since the early 1990s with the emergence of the World Wide Web and the digital transformation of work and play, we have seen engineers from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg disrupt commerce and culture.

These are today’s equivalents of the Victorian entrepreneur-engineers Isambard Brunel and Gustave Eiffel.

The necessary adaptation of our planet to the changing climate – regardless of even the most radical future mitigation measures – will require physical transformations comparable in scale to the recent digital revolution, and the earlier Industrial Revolution. It is clear that engineers will need to play a leading role in that adaptation revolution, and not that of Iago or Othello.

Guy Nordenson is a structural engineer and professor at Princeton University. Recent projects include the Kimbell Art Museum, the Menil Drawing Center and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Since 2008 he has led research projects on coastal resilience and climate adaptation and co-written three books on the subject: On the Water|Palisade Bay (2010), Structures of Coastal Resilience (2018) and Four Corridors (2019). Nordenson has co-curated exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art including “Tall Building” (2004) and “Rising Currents” (2010) and published Tall Buildings (2003), The Felix Candela Lectures (MoMA 2008) and Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design (2019). He was awarded the AIA’s Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award, was Bernoudy Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2015 he was Commissioner of the NYC Public Design Commission and is a currently member of the NYC Panel on Climate Change.

Afterwards, for those that would like to, we’ll be boarding a private boat at Westminster Pier. The trip is kindly sponsored by Trimble, and we’ll be having dinner, drinks and, taking in the sites of the Thames. We’ll also be having informal (and quick!) talks on some of London’s bridges as we pass underneath. For those that can’t make the lecture, feel free to buy a ticket just for the boat, and meet us at the pier.

The three-hour cruise includes dinner, drinks, and should provide plenty of opportunity for networking, discussion and catching up with friends and colleagues.

The timetable looks like this:

5.30pm – Lecture by Guy Nordenson @ IStructE, (NOTE EARLIER START!)

7.00pm – Depart IStructE (transport provided)

7.45pm – Boat Departs @ Westminster Pier, ‘City Cruises’

11.00pm – Boat Returns to Westminster Pier

Look forward to seeing you there!

Register now on Eventbrite.


5:30 pm - 11:00 pm


IStructE Headquarters
47-58 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PS United Kingdom


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