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Greek route to becoming a civil engineer

ICE news

The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) is Greece's oldest scientific educational institution. Founded in 1836, it started out as a part-time school to train builders and craftsmen. But by 1887 the schools of structural engineering, architecture and mechanical engineering had been created.

The NTUA was formed in 1917 when the civil engineering department was established, and until the 1950s it was the only place in Greece to study engineering.

To become chartered, civil engineers must complete five years at university and then sit an exam at the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE).

Although the Association of Civil Engineers of Greece is the professional organisation which oversees the interests of Greek civil engineers, it is the TEE which grants the professional license to practice as a chartered engineer.

According to NTUA head of civil engineering Professor Kostas Moutzouris, most students become structural engineers and enter the building profession.

'A lot of the course focuses on being able to design a whole house, ' he says. This allows graduates to return to their home towns to start up private practices.

Moutzouris says that it is more common for chartered engineers to practice independently than to join large contractors or consultancies.

The University has been actively involved in the Athens Olympics, acting as advisor to the Greek government, particularly for harbour projects.

Director of the laboratory of applied hydraulics Professor George Christodoulou advised the Greek Ministry of Public Works on the feasibility of the Olympic canoe slalom course.

NTUA created a 1:20 model in plexiglass and used pegs slotted into holes in the base of the model to determine the best layout for the slalom race.

'The model was difficult to construct as we had to recreate every slope and curve in the basin to scale to work out the best layout for the slalom race.

'We had to make sure the course was neither too difficult nor too easy, ' says Christodoulou.

The actual structure is made out of concrete and uses seawater.

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