Why did you choose a career in engineering?
I kind of gravitated towards it more by chance than anything. Maths and science were subjects I enjoyed at school, and particularly modules where there were practical applications, so engineering featured fairly high on career advisors’ lists! And around the time I was looking at university courses I met someone on holiday who worked in some civil engineering capacity with the Red Cross and from hearing a bit more about the social impact that engineering in the built environment can have more or less made me decide that civil and structural engineering was the right path for me.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an engineer?
I’m not really sure anymore, the occasions when I’ve thought about different paths for my life, I’ve ended up with some really varied options ranging from chef to sports photographer. But if I finished engineering tomorrow I’d probably go and open a bike/ski shop on a mountain somewhere.
Which product or building has most inspired you and why?
That’s a really difficult question to give one answer to! But I think from buildings I’ve been in there are probably two: The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and The Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. For the Sagrada, there are so many different aspects to it. From how the details and the whole vision and shape of it are guided by the religious principles of Gaudi, to the integration of different engineers, architects, artists and sculptors since the start of its design and construction, to the research that’s gone into understanding the original design and trying to remain faithful to what’s understood about the concept. And for The Walt Disney Concert Hall, it’s a very iconic Frank Gehry form, but beyond that it ties through with the feel and texture of the spaces in general, but particularly in the main auditorium.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I think I’ve still got plenty to learn and improve on with leading one of the structural teams, so that’s a definite aim for the short term. I also really want to develop more of a specialist knowledge in engineered timber design, and how structural engineering can incorporate the circular economy.
Where is your favourite place to be?
I’m pretty happy outdoors and with a bit of space, and love being up in the Yorkshire Dales, which is not far away from where I grew up. But to be honest, my favourite place is really just anywhere with my other half (and a cup of tea!).
You’re cycling to MIPIM in Cannes for the first time, what made you decide to do it?
I fancied a challenge! I’ve progressively gotten more into cycling since 2012, starting off cycling to work on an old mountain bike, before getting a road bike and riding out of London for fun, and then giving track and crit racing a go for the last three or four years. So, riding to MIPIM seemed like a great chance to do something a bit different to riding round in circles quickly, as well as being able to raise money for charity as part of the whole experience.
Support Richard during Cycle to MIPIM, visit our team’s sponsorship page and donate.
What is your favourite book/artist/film/animal?
Book - The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
Artist - Biffy Clyro
Film - Back to the Future
Animal - Owl