Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Grand designs

  • Comment

Architect's son Mark Whitby was in typically ebullient form at his investiture as president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, generating ideas almost faster than he could deliver them and flying off at more tangents than you could shake a measuring stick at. The institution needs, he argued, more curiosity, a quality he has in abundance. Both the collapse of the Twin Towers and the wobble of the Millennium Bridge were due to a deficit in curiosity and he held all engineers, and the institution collectively, responsible. 'It was a problem we all suffered. Somehow we had not engaged, ' he said of engineers, arguing that 'thinking in the round'would have also predicted that burning aviation fuel would be the major problem with aircraft impact.

What about more mundane matters, such as institutional reform? Whitby said his views had moderated since he first became involved with the ICE. Then he believed that it should spend money on contemporary art - he was particularly keen on Simon Patterson's work 'The Great Bear', which replaces London Underground stations with names of famous people, including a line devoted to engineers. Now, he said, he is more interested in restoring the portraits.

Exciting things do happen at the ICE, however. Its chief executive was summarily dismissed the other week, apparently for being too radical.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.