New PostDoc for Cambridge!

We are delighted to announce Robin Oval has joined the ACORN team. Robin will join John and Diana in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate, marking the end of ACORN’s recruitment phase.

Before joining ACORN, Robin researched his PhD in structural design across two high-profile institutions - the Laboratoire Navier at l’École des Ponts in Paris and at the Block Research Group at ETH Zürich. Prior to this, Robin graduated as a structural Engineer from l’École des Ponts in 2016, through studying a double degree in structure and architecture with the architecture school of Paris-Marne.

For a year, Robin also gained practice experience in the the structural engineering office of Bollinger + Grohmann in Frankfurt in 2014/2015. His Master’s thesis with the Block Research Group tackles the design of force patterns for funicular form finding and was exhibited at the 2016 Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Welcome Robin!

ACORN mentioned in ASEE Magazine Article

The first international exposure for ACORN - it has been featured in the May edition of the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) monthly magazine PRISM…

The magazine is the Society’s flagship publication that covers engineering higher education in the United States. It is read by key decision makers within engineering education, and reaches engineering faculty members, administrators, and students in all disciplines of engineering.

You can read all about it here:

Visit to Laing O'Rourke

On 10th May, John and I (Paul) were joined by Tilly Langly (Arup) and Francis Aish (Foster+Partners) on a two-part visit to Laing O’Rourke’s cutting-edge off-site concrete fabrication facilities, at the kind invitation of Adam Locke.

Firstly we were given a tour of the Explore Manufacturing facility at Worksop, where three production lines create bespoke steel-reinforced concrete wall & floor units in a highly automated, highly controlled and high-throughput bespoke factory.

We then travelled to the GRCUK facility in Doncaster to see their state-of-the-art 3D concrete forming factory, where they can produce enormous doubly-curved model-board panels using 5-axis CNC milling, and then spray short-fibre reinforced concrete onto the moulds to make bespoke complex shaped concrete panels, either as permanent formwork or finished facade panels.

It was a fantastic insight into what can be (and is being) done at the moment, and sets the bar high for ACORN to make improvements on their highly optimised processes. Nevertheless, the fantastic bar-reinforced concrete wall and floor panels were all prismatic geometries, and the doubly-curved panels relied on short-fibre reinforcement, which made them less suitable for heavy-duty structural applications. So there’s still a huge opportunity for material lightweighting - everything to play for…