The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) awarded their 2020 Gold Medal to leading building engineer Dr. Mike Cook. A former vice president of IStructE, Dr. Cook was recognized for his enthusiasm and curiosity for structural engineering and his leadership in responding to the challenges of climate change.
Dr. Cook's work is informed by nature and is driven by the principle of using the least resources to do the job well, but also in a way that creates delight. He had a key role in developing consultancy practice BuroHappold Engineering since 1976, where he was a Senior Partner from 2011-2017.
Dr. Cook was also recognized for greatly enhancing the reputation of the structural engineering profession through his teaching, most notably as the Adjunct Professor of Creative Design at Imperial College since 2008, and with professional organizations like IStructE and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Last year, he had a vital role in galvanizing UK engineering companies and institutions into declaring a climate emergency.
Reflect his interest and dedication to connecting natural and man-made structures, some of his notable projects include being Resident Engineer for the Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre in Hong Kong, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court at The British Museum in London, the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C., and Dresden's Hauptbahnhof - Main Railway Station.
“Looking back on my career I inevitably recall Ted Happold's resounding principle for us to ‘touch the earth lightly’ in all we do as engineers,” Dr. Cook said in a statement. “When structural design is informed by respect for nature we are guided towards efficient use of materials and can create an element of delight that is essential to human experience. This has been a vital thread through my own engineering career.
Looking forwards, at a time of climate emergency, it is now abundantly clear that we must redress the growing imbalance between human needs and those of the planet. With the widely recognized urgency to act on this together, both as professions and as united nations, I believe that engineers are center-stage and we have an opportunity to transform and guide our future along a more sustainable path. There has never been a better time to be an engineer, but let’s be in no doubt, we have a monumental task ahead of us.”
Dr. Cook will deliver his Gold Medal Address at Queen's University in Belfast on September 22.
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