We’d like to introduce Jennifer Hardi, Course Director for Architectural Engineering and Architectural Technology within the School of Built Environment & Architecture. Jennifer is delivering a session on the use of alternative materials in construction – in this case, bamboo – and will be sharing details of a project she worked on with her students.
Hi Jennifer – thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview. To begin, can you let us know what you do and why you’re involved in the event series?
I joined LSBU in September 2013 as Senior Lecturer and Course Director for the BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and Architectural Engineering course. Prior to joining LSBU, I worked as Senior Sustainability Consultant at Building Research Establishment (BRE), a leading research and accreditation construction company. Sustainability, Building Information Modelling and Pedagogy area have been my passion and I am always keen in imparting my professional knowledge and experience back to the students relating to my area of interests as they are the future in the industry. Recently, I have led a hands on and multi-disciplinary bamboo pavilion workshop at LSBU where students and colleagues join forces to build the pavilion from scratch in three days. This workshop is in collaboration with Dr Andry Widyowijatnoko and colleagues from Institute Technology of Bandung, a leading university in Indonesia. My session would cover how the tensegrity pavilion was made and the potential of bamboo materials as a sustainable material.
There’s a great deal of work and research taking place at LSBU around using alternative resources in engineering and construction – what are some of the biggest lessons we’ve learned?
There are a lot of sustainable innovative materials out there and it is important that we explore its viability for the UK climate from the social, economic and also environmental point of view. These three aspects must be well balanced to be able to come up with the most sustainable alternative solutions within the engineering and construction.
Regarding your students and the project, how do you think working on a project like this will impact their future career choices and roles?
The bamboo pavilion project has given my students and also other students at LSBU a hands-on experience in a multi-disciplinary context. This is a crucial employability skills for them as they will be required to work with other professionals in the industry when they get into the construction industry. The experience also gives them a chance to engage with international leading experts from ITB and exchange knowledge
Please tell us about how you came to work in your field and what attracted you to it?
Architecture and engineering has always been of my interest since early age. I remembered building things from lego and listening to my Dad (who was a Senior Specialist Procurement Consultant for The World Bank), who has now retired, shared his experience as a structural and civil engineer. This interest coupled with my passion to make a difference brought me into the sustainability and architecture engineering/technology area. From my professional industry experience, I feel that it is a good opportunity to impart my knowledge back to students who are the future of the industry and that’s how I come about joining the academic sector.
How to you feel your industry is making an impact on the issues around sustainability and climate action?
I think we can do more! Currently there is a huge effort regarding this but there are some current serious challenges we need to tackle especially in terms the economy downturn and the impact of COVID19 on investment and research innovation. We should take advantage of the current downturn in the industry to create more jobs that focuses on sustainability. The fact that people are now turning to more sustainable way of transport such as cycling and walking, shows that there is an appetite by the public for a more environmental focus policies in the construction industry such as housing etc. The public backing is there and we should take advantage of this.
What message would you give to young people who are concerned about the future of the planet and how can they make a difference?
You are the future. Stand up to what you believe in. There will be a lot of obstacles that says you can not do it and aiming to prevent you from achieving what you believe in! Proof to them that they are wrong! Together we can build a more sustainable city, a more sustainable world.
Jennifer will be delivering her session on the conference day devoted to ‘Resources’ taking place on 25th June.