dcsimg London Fest. of Architecture - Ramboll UK Limited

London Festival of Architecture 2012 - Graduate Design Project

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is a biennial celebration of London's buildings, streets and spaces.
Ramboll's UK head office is located in the heart of London, and we are always keen to support the festival.
This year is no exception. 

Ramboll and the LFA

Ramboll has participated in the last two festivals — in 2008 we organised the Greening Bays project and in 2010 we held the interactive Carbon Cube event.

With the Olympics rapidly approaching, the theme for the festival this year is The Playful City. The festival runs from 23 June to 8 July and we have turned to our graduate engineers for inspiration for our contribution to this year's event.

Graduate design project

Graduates were asked to create and pitch their ideas for Ramboll's LFA project. Working across all our regional offices, the task gave graduates the opportunity to undertake a self-contained and time-bound project. They were divided into eight teams and pitched their ideas to a panel that included RUK Managing Director Charles McBeath.


The project brief was to develop and present a proposal to represent Ramboll during the London Festival of Architecture 2012 based on the theme "Reuse/Recycle". The project could be anything; an installation, event, performance or exhibition. Additionally, all teams had to capture and record their progress in a creative way, in accordance with the spirit of the LFA.


Team C – Farmscape

Team C proposed a rooftop farm located on the roof of Ramboll’s London office constructed entirely from waste materials to promote the message of ‘upcycling’, or reusing waste materials to create something new. Growing vegetables in shallow and deep soil over the 320 sq m of space available would create a potential yield of 530kg per year. Produce grown would be given to local schools and charities, LFA visitors and used for office lunches. The farm could also be used as a venue for an urban farming festival and workshops promoting DIY urban farming.

Team H – Schools Against Waste

A playful interactive experience that engaged passers-by was the vision of Team H. The proposed installation was a xylophone constructed entirely of recycled materials and installed in a central London square. This would be designed with the creative input of pupils from a local primary school. This would not only promote engineering and music in schools, but engage the local community and actively support sustainability.

Team G – City in Flux

Team G proposed a structure with moveable parts that could be used to change the use of forgotten spaces. The interactive structure would allow the public to use it as they need, creating a space that was multi-functional and encouraging people to reutilise it as they require. Fabricated from timber slats and stainless steel, which is made of 60% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable, the structure could be used in a number of ways. It could be a temporary bar in the evening, an outdoor seating space at lunchtime, a partition wall or even a tennis net.

Team A – Plasticity

The Plasticity project aimed to raise awareness of the scale of plastic bags wastage. The team proposed creating a series of geodesic pavilions which would be constructed from panels made that were made from old plastic bags. The pavilions would be used to host workshops and events and moved for use at multiple sites.

Team E – Beauty on our doorstep

Team E proposed building an interactive structure that illustrated the journey of construction materials imported from all over the world to the UK. The structure, inspired by a popular children’s toy, would represent the sustainability of sourcing materials overseas and beautifully designed with an interactive element that allows the public to move the ‘material’ from its origin to the UK. The model would show the journey of timber from Sweden, aluminium from France, steel from Germany, glazing materials from China, and stonework from Italy.

Team B – 3 Points Downtown

The 3 Points Downtown project aimed to get the public to change their use of open space by creating temporary basketball hoops which could be attached to lampposts and signposts. Passers by could have impromptu street basketball games or even arrange mini tournaments. The fixtures would ensure that the basketball hoops could be removed at the end of one day and installed at another location the next so the experience could be shared with more people at another London location.

Team D – Urban Maze

Team D proposed an Urban Maze this is using London itself as a maze starting at Ramboll’s London office in Newman Street. Participants would be given a map with the road names removed and find their way around using clues placed around the map to find their way out. The maze would take people on a journey through the streets of London, allow them to take in its dramatic architecture and provide the opportunity to experience London in a new way.

Team F – Food for Thought

Team F’s proposal was to create a rooftop allotment and retractable roof for a local primary school. This would enable the school to keep the playing area free to fully exploit its rooftop space and create supplementary uses for it. The project would provide a fun way for local children to learn about nature and the environment, what constitutes a healthy diet and the importance of food waste whilst increasing the local biodiversity.

Inspired creative energy

After each presentation, the panel and fellow graduates critiqued and gave feedback on the proposals delivered. After all teams had pitched their ideas, the panel praised the efforts of all teams. The graduates' response to a challenging open and task was very positive. Presentation material was excellent and demonstrated a real commitment to professionalism; an encouraging sign at the start of their careers.

Most impressive was the level of initiative that was shown by the teams. Making links with potential collaborators outside the company reflected their understanding that design is rarely an isolated process. With such a broad array of ideas and extraordinary presentations delivered, the design project left the panel in no doubt that Ramboll has some of the most exceptionally creative and talented young engineers in the industry.

This phase of the design project ended with the panel asking the graduates to work together to select which idea best represents their capabilities and develop their chosen project for the festival this summer.

Charles McBeath praised the graduates' collective efforts. "I have attended and supported many of these internal design projects and yet I never fail to come away from them inspired and humbled at the creative energy that sparkles throughout the organisation. These graduates are the future of Ramboll and they give me every confidence that the future will be a great one."

Come back to the Ramboll website this summer to see the final outcome of the graduate LFA design project. In the meantime, you can stay up to date with the project progress by visiting http://ramboll-lfa2012.tumblr.com or by following @RambollLFA on Twitter.


More information...

London Festival of Architecture 2012
Link to official website


Yanchee Lau
Design Associate
T+44 20 7631 5291