Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

How easy is it to be a modern day Brunel?

Special feature - Brunel Bicentenary

Could the genius who was Isambard Kingdom Brunel ourish today- Ruby Kitching investigates.

Mark Whitby, 56 , director of consultant Whitbybird Nominated by British Land head of construction Richard Elliot: 'He's a super enthusiast for engineering and has done a tremendous amount to raise its pro le.'

Former ICE president Mark Whitby works tirelessly to exploit the possibilities of materials and latest construction methods while vigorously championing sustainable design. As the founding partner of Whitbybird, he has steered the company to tackle glass bridges, wind farms, millennium bridges (outside London), opening ceremony structures for the 2004 Athens Olympics, re engineering and the redevelopment of the BBC's headquarters in Portland Place.

Often outspoken, Whitby rarely sits on the fence when it comes to any issue which affects the built environment.

Hanif Kara, 48, director of consultant Adams Kara Taylor Nominated by architect Will Alsop: 'He brings a wider view to a project than just engineering and is a great lateral thinker.'

Kara is co-founder of the young, dynamic civil and structural engineering consultancy Adams Kara Taylor and has personally designed bridges, roller coasters, offshore platforms and power stations. He is popular with architects for his brilliant understanding of structures and fascination with beauty and form. He shares his talents with engineers and architects around the world through lectures and as a design reviewer for the Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment.

Chris Wise, 49 co-founder of Expedition Engineering Nominated by architect Ken Shuttleworth: 'You can really feed ideas off Chris, he's a great sketcher and very positive to be around.'

Wise is most famous for his association with London's Millennium Bridge. He remained a staunch believer in the bridge's design throughout its wobbling and emerged to become the TV face of structural engineering.

Reaching out to people beyond engineering with flair and ingenuity, Wise recreated Julius Caesar's bridge over the Rhine on the River Tyne, and has reconstructed and flown a human-powered replica of the world's first airship for the BBC.

Ray O' Rourke, 59, chairman of contractor Laing O'Rourke Nominated by Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke: 'Entrepreneurial and driven by the business of construction, not a spreadsheet. He's built a company with a commercial edge over other contractors by just doing the job better.'

Laing O'Rourke is making a name for itself on mega projects including Heathrow's Terminal 5 and Dubai airport. Renowned for his 'can do' attitude, O'Rourke describes his company as a 'learning organisation, embracing change and creating change, ready to seize opportunities whenever and wherever they arise.'

Rab Brown, 59, director of consultant Halcrow Nominated by Halcrow chairman Tony Allum: 'He thrives on pressure and is completely off the wall. Where some people will come back and say why they can't do something - Rab will always come back with a can-do attitude.'

Brown is currently restoring water infrastructure in Iraq following a spell of repairing bridges in the country over the last three years. He has also managed major UK projects such as the Channel Tunnel and Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Alan Powderham, 60, transportation director of Mott Macdonald Nominated by Skanska chief executive David Fison: 'He exudes engineering brilliance, pushing boundaries in ground engineering and coming up with solutions which save millions of pounds.'

Powderham is a pioneer in the observational tunnelling method and slashed costs on the Boston 'Big Dig' project by suggesting jacking instead of using cut and cover techniques.

He also champions research and innovation at Mott Macdonald and in universities around the world.

Stephen Morley, 45, cofounder of consultant Bianchi-Morley Nominated by ETB chief executive John Morton.

'Stephen's outstanding achievements demonstrate that engineering and technology play a vital part in wealth creation and sustainability to the benefit of the broad community. His exciting designs inspire generations of future engineers.'

Morley is the concept designer of some of the most iconic sporting structures in the world, including Sydney's Stadium Australia, the Athens Olympic stadium and Wembley Stadium - it was Morley's idea to replace the stadium's towers with the spectacular arch. He is an International Olympic Committee advisor for stadium design and was the first structural engineer to be nominated for the Prince Philip Designers' Prize, dispelling the myth that brilliant design is down to the architect alone.

David Glover,48, director of consultant Arup Nominated by architect Ken Shuttleworth: 'This man has a lot of vision and works to an incredible level of detail, but still realises that it's more than just a numbers game'.

Glover is widely regarded as Skyscrapers Man, having designed the Swiss Re building, and the soon-tobe-built Shard of Glass and 122 Leadenhall Street towers. He was also nominated by British Land head of construction Richard Elliot as an engineer who comes up with outstanding engineering solutions.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.