Building Foundations: John Gerrard
Today we catch up with John Gerrard, one of our Associate Directors working in Webb Yates Engineers’ London Office. We got to know John’s secret skills, his plans for the future and how he can contribute towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Why did you choose a career in engineering?
That I could be involved in creating something that people experience appealed to me.
Which Webb Yates Engineers project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of and why?
The designs for a collection of lodges to be built in a dis-used quarry in the Lake District. It was great to be involved in discussions that put sustainability at the centre. Working with the architect thinking about how their project could use rock from the quarry and basic timber construction to create bespoke retreats in a sensitive environment was satisfying.
As someone working in engineering, what can you do to contribute to a greener and more sustainable urban future?
The short answer is lots and I should do more. From justifying the re-use of existing structures, designing efficiently, specifying materials responsibly and encouraging others towards integrated design. I hope that sustainable design becomes an economic driver for projects too, as sadly only then will it really be embraced by everyone.
Which product or building has most inspired you and why?
For a building I’d say the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. You walk in and then bam! Your senses get hit by that central space. A vaulted hall filled with light, sculptures and the iconic clock luring you to the end. From here you wander into smaller rooms and find the most amazing works of art to enjoy.
A product would be Juicy Salif by Phillppe Starck. I was first attracted by its “War of the Worlds” alien look. Then when I was treated to one, I discovered it really is a good lemon juicer – form and function in one.
Where is your favourite country you have visited and why?
Australia. One night after diving in the Coral Sea, miles off the East coast, I was sat on a tiny boat with an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the horizon. Stars filled the half sphere, with little me at its focal point. It was spectacular and made me realise how insignificant I am and how incredible and vast creation is.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To retire content.
What are your secret skills?
Spinning a basketball on my fingers and thumbs.