Education, Pavilion Project

We are super excited to have watched a team of NYC-based architects and engineers run a great set of concept design workshops with two dozen high-schoolers at Hofstra University this weekend for ‘Building the Next Engineers’. It is great to be able to try out our favo(u)rite hands-on design-build workshop format in a different engineering environment, and even better to do it with such great high school participants, university helpers, and glorious site visit weather.

We had eight great teams with fantastic work, but we also have a winning design to take forward through design development and construction in the fall(autumn). Let’s go!



COP26 has been and gone, but the Anthropobscene pavilion project continues to thrive! With the Grimshaw Foundation and Urban Learners, Scale Rule were excited to help develop a workshop making cardboard small-scale Anthropobscene domes. Who would have suspected that these are hexagons and pentagons, eh?

Some lovely photos from Urban Learners’ Venetia and Anastasia here – and we hear open source workshop information may be available for use soon, too!

The Anthropobscene transmogrified!

Education, Pavilion Project

We at Scale Rule were delighted to see Anthropobscene – Next Generation Design 2020 pavilion take a further step from it’s digital reveal into the real world at COP26 in Glasgow.

Grimshaw Architects (big respect to Mr Andy Watts, in particular), Price and Myers and Sir Robert McAlpine helped deliver the original design by the students at Harris Boys’ Academy East Dulwich expertly, and there is a very nice and informative press-release about it all here.

I couldn’t think of a better concept behind a pavilion at COP26 than one which was so overtly symbolizing the irreversible changes to the planet caused by humans. Ripping apart a big timber representation of the earth with imaginary clawing hands is about as overt as you can really get (beyond torching the pavilion while it is still full of people, or similar…)

The Anthropobscene is here (digitally)!

Education, Next Generation Design

The domed structure represents a deconstructed planet; formed, fractured and reconfigured from geometric timber segments. When approaching the pavilion a complete dome is visible, but as viewing angles adjust and shift the viewer uncovers a configuration of concave plate modules pulled apart. The dome fragments are positioned to frame views out to its surroundings and enable movement through the pavilion itself.

The pavilion celebrates sustainability through its modular production methods, recycled materials and future re‐use; whilst encouraging people to rest and socialise within its bounds with a series of modular seats reflecting the structure of the dome.

In an uncanny mirror of the world we live in the tragic results of our real and obscene anthropocene brought us a highly contagious lethal pandemic, which made the traditional physical construction of a Next Generation Design pavilion challenging this year.

However, do not fear! In collaboration with the wonderful XR developers at Grimshaw the pavilion was created as both a virtual and augmented reality composition which can be explored online. The pavilion can be experienced anywhere using the instagram filter to drop it into your surroundings and move around as if in real life.

Will there be a Next Generation?

Education, Next Generation Design

As the world as we know it crumbles before our eyes, how prescient do the themes behind this year’s pavilion sound?

Tackling the global climate crisis and human influence as the root cause of unprecedented damage, this pavilion showing our home being split apart by the society that we fostered seems pretty spot on.

Fingers-crossed London is still here to build it.

2020 Press Image

Awards Season

Education, Next Generation Design

This year there has been some fuss over The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering, or The Award for Structural Artistry – connoisseurs of engineering know that the real IStructE award of note is the Arts and Entertainment Structures Award.

Thus and so, it is with much excitement and fanfare that we send our congratulations to the Nottingham team of Next Generation Design Scale Rulers, who are the proud recipients of the 2019 Arts and Entertainment Structures Award from the IStructE Midlands regional group.

Structural Engineering Awards 2019