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AECOM's Amy turns Serpentine Pavilion vision into reality

 July 11, 2017

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Using augmented and virtual reality in the workplace

Amy Koerbel’s structural engineering expertise and creativity contributed to the latest impressive Serpentine Pavilion in London - designed this year by architect Diébédo Francis Kéré.

As Associate Director at AECOM, Amy and the engineering team including Director Jon Leach and Principal Engineer Michael Orr, used Augmented and Virtual Reality to explore Kéré's design. This technology allowed them to translate the architect’s vision for a tree-like gathering space into a reality.

If used appropriately, AECOM engineers believe digital technologies allow the design of more elegant buildings in a more efficient way. By enabling design development to be seen at both a micro (viewing a steel connection detail) and macro (looking at the building in context of the site it is going into) scale - designs can be communicated in a way that is more fully understood by all members of a team.

Augmented Virtual Reality is increasingly becoming the norm in the industry, but the ability to make all the required digital technologies work together is what has previously created challenges. For this project however, Amy and the team of AECOM engineers developed their own tools to help bridge this gap and reduce the time is takes to move models from one source to another.

Worldwide recognition for exciting projects

AECOM has built the last five pavilions in the Serpentine series which are commissioned each year and designed by a leading architect. Each Pavilion is completed within six months and is situated on the Gallery’s lawn in Hyde Park for three months for the public to explore. The Serpentine Pavilion is one of the most exciting projects in London’s cultural calendar and one of the top ten most-visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world.

Tight timescales

The tight timescales for the project are well-known in the industry to be challenging, with just 20 weeks from inception to completion. This however, is planned intentionally to help create a spontaneity in the design - where a fusion of art, architecture and engineering can meet. It is this collaboration that makes the experience truly unique. Traditional consultant reponsibilities are blurred and everyone pulls together to realise the architects vision. With new challenges arising everyday, including the famous unpredictability of British weather - problem solving can be anything from sourcing new materials to coming up with new methods of fabrication.

AECOM team "best engineers in the world”

At the press launch for the structure, architect Diébédo Francis Kéré described the AECOM team as “the best engineers in the world.”

Inspiring women in engineering

Talented Amy Koerbel was recently nominated for Best Woman Structural Engineer in The European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards and has worked on a number of high profile projects during her career at AECOM - a company where a number of successful women are making their mark.

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