Engineers Sketches Competition

Engineers Sketches Competition

The 2015 Competition Winner, Yanchee Lau from Eckersley O'Callaghan, detail from "Guggenheim Helsinki" competition entry.

An exhibition at the Institute of Structural Engineers is showcasing the very best in engineering sketching, until mid-November 2015. The exhibition features entries to the Engineering Club’s Fourth Engineering Sketching Competition, the winners of which were announced during a ceremony on 22 October. Here Judges Andrew Scoones (ngenuity Ltd) and Trevor Flynn (Drawing at Work) explain why they hold the competition and why the work is important.

As the Engineering Club has grown, so has awareness of the Engineering Sketches Competition. Engineers of all ages and skill levels enter, and this year saw around 150 sketches submitted by nearly 50 entrants in 18 different engineering practices. It is always hugely encouraging to see the confidence of young engineers expressing themselves through hand sketching, and we’re delighted with the diversity of applications and range of drawing styles we saw this year.


Site notebook sketches: Francesco Ferrarri (Arup)

Engineering sketching remains an important skill for a number of reasons. First, because the form is sympathetic to the way the human mind works: it allows the creation of instinctive, provisional ideas, building in our minds as we draw. Second, sketching retains an important role in communicating concepts during the early stages of making proposals to clients. Third, engineers spend a great deal of time at the computer screen, which can degrade our work experience and creativity – sketching is an important opportunity to break away from the computer, explore ideas, and improve our spatial intelligence by working with our hands.

Engineers tend not to have the same drawing education as architects, and part of the reason we run the competition is to encourage learning, refinement and retention of these vital skills. This year’s exhibition illustrates that sketching is alive and well in the engineering profession, and of a very high standard too. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in engineering to attend the exhibition and see for yourself. It really is a wonderful a whole new generation of engineers.


The 2015 Competition Winner, Yanchee Lau (Eckersley O’Callaghan)

Congratulations to this year’s winner, Yanchee Lau from Eckersley O’Callaghan for “Guggenheim Helsinki competition entry”. Succinct and informative, the sketches showed the intentions of the design team from structural floor plans to environmental strategy, and was “an extraordinary tour de force” according to the competition judges.

Also many congratulations to our Highly Commended entries, which included Alex Lynes (Webb Yates Engineers) for “Staircase, exploded view”; Francesco Ferrari (Arup) for “site notebook sketches” and Stuart Smith (Arup) for “initial concept sketch of the 2012 Serpentine Gallery”. Also congratulations to our Commended entries, from Chris Mills (Expedition), Mike Kirkham (Mike Kirkham Design Associates), Mark Day (Webb Yates Engineers) and Elizabeth Bishop (Arup). Finally many thanks to our fellow judges: Kelly Harrison (Heyne Tillett Steel) and Mark Whitby (The Engineering Club).


Staircase: exploded view, Alex Lynes (Webb Yates Engineers)

The Engineering Sketches competition runs until 20 November at Institution Headquarters, Bastwick Street, London.

This article is taken from the IStructE website.