Fiona Cobb

Fiona Cobb

Practice: Price & Myers
Established: 1978
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
[email protected]

After graduating from Heriot-Watt University in 1996, Fiona Cobb worked briefly with an Edinburgh firm of consulting engineers before joining Price & Myers in 1997. She has worked on a variety of new-build and refurbishment projects, particularly enjoying work which combines historic buildings, modern design and environmental sustainability. Fiona was seconded to Wates during summer 2000, spending several months on site on the refurbishment of the Queen's Galleries at Buckingham Palace. Since then she has worked on a number of school, arts and healthcare projects with Hampshire County Council, Penoyre & Prasad and Tim Foster Architects, among others. She became an associate at Price & Myers in 2002.
She is the author of 'The Structural Engineers Pocket Book', Elsevier, winner of ACE Young Consultant of the Year 2007, and has been a member of the IStructE Technical Publications Panel 2007/08 and of the Architect's Journal Small Project Award Jury Panel 2005.

Price & Myers

Inside the drum
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La Giudecca, Venice

Restoration and conversion of the top floor of the old brewery to make a superb maisonette. The new first floor has a prefabricated timber deck made of plywood boat forms designed as a stressed skin construction, and built in a local boatyard. The living space is contained within a drum structure, elliptical in plan, with very elegant staircases of stainless steel and glass. Completed in 1999, the architect was Michael Carapetian/Studio Tam and the project value £1 million.

Inside the drum
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Do you think our profession is diverse enough? Engineering consultancy in the UK is generally populated by white, 'middle class' men so there is not really a great deal of variety! Women represent only about 2-3 per cent of chartered structural engineers. The situation is getting better though and it is a lot easier having women 'ahead' who have done well, let others see what can be achieved and can inspire younger engineers.
If you could change one thing in our profession, what would it be? In an ideal world we could break the low-fees culture of the construction industry. Fees and project programmes seem to have got increasingly tight over the last decade. It is difficult to bring real benefits to projects when working under these conditions. Engineers probably need to get better at explaining how higher fees are of benefit to their clients.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? Finished buildings which are beautiful and which will benefit people's lives for years to come.