Graduate Design Project


The Graduate Design Project has been established as one of the most important events of the year for Ramboll graduates. It involved lots of hard work and loads of fun. Throughout this interesting project Ramboll graduates proposed innovative, provocative and exciting ideas for the built environment. This year there were 10 teams, more than any previous year. Each team consisted of four to five graduates from different disciplines and other Ramboll’ s UK offices.

This year’s brief was:

“Choose any city in the world; and develop and present a design proposal, which will improve the lives of its’s citizens.”



The briefing launch took place on the 27th of January, at the Building Centre. The day included many inspiring presentations delivered by senior members of the firm. There were two main requirements: the outcome should be newsworthy and representative of what we do in Ramboll. Each team had to submit 4 deliverables within 4 weeks: a 10-minute presentation, a report, a poster and a blog that would be used to track each team’s progress.

Efstratios Gavotsis explains, “As expected, the journey to the final outcome was not linear. We had to get inspired, brainstorm, come up with our own ideas, debate, change our minds, come up with a final idea and present it in a professional way. During this journey, we had people to help and support us as well as constructively criticize our ideas during the two workshops that took place in the London office. These were either experts from the firm or external judges from StudioAR architects. Teams communicated and cooperated through face-to-face meetings, e-mails, blogs and VC sessions. The final day we delivered a presentation to members of the executive and marketing team, design directors and resource group leaders. We received some very positive feedback and flattering comments that encouraged us to improve our designs and continue being creative in what we do”.

Map overview - sketchy - New structure selected2

The cities chosen were from all around the world: from South to North and East to West. Here you can find the cities and each team’s blog:

1. Christchurch

2. London

3. Shanghai

4. London

5. London

6. Beirut

7. Mondevideo

8. Milan!date=2014-02-07 17:47:56!

9. London

10. Athens

This is the final outcome of our work!

To celebrate the outcome of our work, there is a display in the foyer of the London office. Yanchee Lau, the Associate responsible for this Project, also wrote an article that was later posted on Ramboll’s website. You can read it here:

Many things were gained from this process. Not only did we understand the problems modern cities face but we also were able to be creative. We enjoyed ourselves and came up with fresh ideas that will feed Ramboll’s vision on how to create more liveable cities. However, there are also less obvious advantages such as the opportunity to socialize and get to know the rest of the graduates, learn about the regional offices, tick off Chartership objectives, gain CPD hours and get into urban planners’ shoes.


Tulio Ferrari Cup

Ramboll UK’s annual five-a-side football tournament took place in heat-wave conditions at Battersea park this July. The Tulio Ferrari cup is named in memory of a former employee and has been keenly contested since 2002.

This year saw 16 teams from the London and Cambridge offices enter the draw, from beer swilling underdogs to increasingly red-faced contenders. Brave volunteers from the teams stepped up to referee the other games in their groups, with some dubious decisions and polite criticism from the sidelines. A special mention goes to rookie ref Finn Maidstone, whose failure to penalise a player who caught the ball in his hands to control it caused a paroxysm of bewildered complaints, which he duly ignored.

The tournament consisted of a group stage, followed by a plate and main knockout completion. The heat took its toll on all the players, not least London Director Alan bunting, who was heard expressing his surprise after learning that the goalkeeper may not pick the ball up outside the area.

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Services London team, Bayern Neverlusen produced the golden goal winner, Rory Edwards with eleven goals, before losing in the quarter finals. If there was prize for best name though, they would have got my vote.
After four hours of running, kicking and shouting, the tournament concluded with London Structures Red retaining the Tulio Ferrari Cup for the second year in a row. Team captain Sam King was ‘chuffed’ at the win, congratulating his team on their hard work. The plate competition was won by another London team, Business Functions 2 (the unstoppable Farce), beating the jadedly named ‘Team Blue 3’.


The event was a huge success; the games were played in good spirits, nobody got heat-stroke and £540 was raised for charity. A tremendous thanks go to Mona Haghani, Jamie Clay and the social panel for their efforts in organising a flawless event. The tournament was played in the spirit of fair-play; there was no acrobatic diving, no swearing at the refs and no behind the hand comments. Which of course means that it probably wasn’t really football after all.

CARE Construction Challenge 2013

After succes in 2012 Ramboll had another great year copmpeting in the CARE Construction Challenge

In the midst of a heatwave, a Ramboll team won the four-man event at the CARE Construction Challenge for the second year running. Two teams cycled 15 miles and ran 10 miles over moorland, forests and hills, then paddled 1.2 miles across a lake to complete the Challenge on Saturday 6th July.

CARE International is a charity helping the world’s poorest people to escape poverty. The organisation delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps them to rebuild their lives. CARE’s mission is to create lasting change in poor communities and put money where it is needed most.

group picThe sweltering conditions proved an even greater challenge to an already demanding event, which was held around the picturesque Wimbleball Lake at Exmoor National Park. The first Ramboll team, R&R, won the four-man event in a time of 4 hours and 24 minutes, finishing third overall. The team represented London Structures’ Green Team comprising Tony Pettigrew, Justin Vaughan and grads Tom Bignall and Elliott Connolly.

The second Ramboll team, Rambo, took part on behalf of London Structures Blue and Geotechnics Teams. Team members Benjamin Torrance and Renzo Ahumada finished fifth in the two-man event in 5 hours 31 minutes. “It was an extremely tough event this year and completing it was a real achievement,” the team commented.

Will Synnott and Kalil Kane had planned to take part in the event but were forced to pull out due to injuries so they volunteered on the day, much to the delight of CARE’s organisers. Andrew Mather, a key member of Ramboll’s winning team last year, also supported the teams’ fundraising efforts throughout.

37 teams entered the CARE Construction Challenge this year, a dramatic increase from last year, with teams from companies such as Mott MacDonald, Bam Nuttall, Costain and Atkins all entering. The event raised a record-breaking £70,000 for CARE International, and our teams would like to thank everyone who supported them through their fundraising efforts. Moredetails about the challenge are available on the event report

You can support CARE International by donating at Team R&R’s JustGiving page or Team Rambo’s donation page. Both teams would like to thank everyone for their generous donations so far and for the continued support received throughout the year.

The Ramboll teams plan to defend the title at next year’s event, which will be held in the Forest of Dean. If you would like to take part, visit the CARE Construction Challenge website.

Graduate Trip 2013

Each year the newest graduates (well that’s the plan anyway) from across all the offices in the UK go on a Graduate trip together and this year was no different. As you may know Ramboll is a Danish company so the destination for the 20 something Ramboll graduates who congregated at Gatwick departures was company HQ, København (Copenhagen). On the itinerary was a mix of engineering related activities and social events.

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The trip started with a visit to the head office which included presentations on various work and charity projects along with a tour round the office, designed by Ramboll, the highlight of which for many graduates seemed to be the giant wind tunnel used as part of the natural ventilation system! The office visit concluded in the Ram-bar where there was a chance to chat with our Danish colleagues and challenge them to table football or pool. The next day was an early start with a boat trip out to one of the many offshore wind farms around Copenhagen; not such a surprising choice considering the whole trip was organised by two graduates in the Offshore Wind department. It was a very interesting excursion for everyone and particularly relevant to the UK given the increasing emergence of wind power in our energy sector, as well as a great chance to get a different view of the city than usual.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the afternoon there was an architecture tour around part of the city followed by some time to explore other parts of the city as took people’s interests. Or in the case of a few a chance to catch up on much needed sleep (!) in preparation for the last evening. The final morning brought with it another sunny day and a last chance to pack in a bit of sightseeing. Some went for the leisurely option of a guided boat trip around the cities canals whilst others chose to walk or cycle. That brought to close what turned out to be a brilliant Graduate Trip, until the next lucky newcomers organise theirs!

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Fitzrovia Chalkboard

As part of London Festival of Architecture 2013 Ramboll engineers conceived the Fitzrovia Chalkboard for the Great Titchfield Street Festival. One of a number of events planned for the month long festival, the inaugural street project aimed to promote positive change in the area, transforming Great Titchfield Street – from Mortimer Street up to Langham and Foley Street – into a pedestrianised haven for the day. The street festival commenced at 12.00pm and ran until 6.00pm, as part of the Fitzrovia Trail – a day co-ordinated by RIBA London with local architects, designers and engineers.IMG_2857 reduced

Fitzrovia Chalkboard was a temporary installation that created a single point of display for collective messages in the local community – a structure that in of itself was a massive writing surface for all to contribute. Inspired by how local, independent businesses rely on the traditional chalkboard as a means to advertise and mark their place on the street, in a time when technology offers many alternatives, Fitzrovia Chalkboard was designed using such recent advances and the public were invited inside the structure to view its innovative construction. It was greatly enjoyed by all ages with the boards quickly covered in chalk and much admired both in use and for its design.
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Inspired by Ramboll’s recent Trada Pavilion, the structure comprised of 47 birch plywood panels joined together by steel hinges. It was designed using methods developed by Ramboll Computational Design to produce exact cutting patterns for digital fabrication. All panels are numbered sequentially and this approach ensures that all panels fit together to create the form in a quick assembly process.

Local restaurants and cafes made the most of the traffic-free street, to create a true street party atmosphere providing outdoor seating areas and entertainment. In addition, there was free ice cream and face painting for children and visitors enjoyed live music from the swing band ‘Valentino’ and cabaret singer Kai Hoffman.
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The street festival, conceived by Morrow + Lorraine Architects, was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the local community, including the main sponsor Fitzroy Place and the contributions of Exemplar, developer of Fitzroy Place, Savills, Gleeds and Sir Robert McAlpine.

Find out more about the Great Titchfield Street Festival by visiting

Engineering Education Scheme 2012/13

As part of Ramboll’s commitment to promoting engineering in the local community, Ramboll has once again partnered with Wimbledon High School to partake in the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) – one of many schemes ran by the Engineering Development Trust . EES provides a chance for students in Year 12 to tackle a genuine engineering project and its various challenges with assistance from professional engineers. Once again a few of Ramboll’s graduate engineers stepped up to mark of mentoring the students through the project from briefing to final presentations.

This year the brief was to produce a concept design for a disaster relief shelter for the homeless in Haiti, with potential further applications in future natural disasters elsewhere. The initial briefing took place in October and weekly meetings followed to progress the design. In December the students partook in a three day residential event hosted by the University of Surrey in Guildford where they were able to use the university facilities, including workshops and laboratories, to make models and test materials, ideas or anything else they wanted. They also got a chance to meet up with other EES groups to share their experiences and find out about other groups projects/company sponsors. After a successful residential, attention turned to using the knowledge gained, combined with assistance from Ramboll’s graduate team, to develop a final concept for the shelter.

team photoBy the end of April the students were ready with a final design report and model to take to the EES celebration day in London which all the EES groups from the local region attended along their teachers and company mentors. Each group had a stand at the event where the students were able to explain their project to the attendees and all the groups also gave a presentation to senior engineers from various companies. There was also time for the students to view each other’s projects and see how they had developed from the residential. Overall it was a really good experience for both the students and the Ramboll graduates. The graduates found it very useful in learning project management and how to motivate a team. Equally, it was very rewarding to see not just the development of the disaster relief shelter but how the students developed their skills too – all with our help.

Bangladesh Flood Relief project – Update

Following on from the post in February ( ) the ActionAid project in Tala Upazila, Bangladesh for which Ramboll is providing support has just reached a key stage with the successful completion of its first flood relief shelter.

ActionAid Bangladesh has developed the project with the main aim of improving the immediate and long-term living conditions for 25 households which consist of 125 marginalised people in the Dalit Balia Rishi Para community. Ramboll is entirely funding the design and construction of 25 flood relief shelters. These have been created voluntarily by Elliott Connolly and Nicholas O’Brien, two Graduate Structural Engineers in Ramboll’s London office, together with an architectural consultant from Bangladesh.


Cost-effective, sustainable and durable design

Following a fact-finding visit in late 2012, and intensive design work back in the UK, Elliott returned to Tala Upazila for 12 days in April 2013 to project manage and assist with the construction of the pilot shelter. This is acting as the model for the remaining 24 shelters, which are presently being built to a similar high quality and standard. In addition, 25 latrines – one for each dwelling – and three deep tubes, to provide access to fresh water, are also being provided.

The shelters have been designed to be culturally acceptable, sustainable, durable and cost-effective, with a tight budget of around EUR 945 per dwelling being successfully met. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of May, just before the monsoon season begins.


A rewarding experience

The Ramboll Foundation has donated EUR 35,000 to this project, while UK’s Charity Task Group is providing the funding which is supporting Elliott and Nicholas’ direct involvement.

Elliott comments: “We’d particularly like to thank the Ramboll Foundation, and Ramboll UK Charity Task Group members Jeremy Foster, Jessica Robinson and Sebastian Wood for supporting this important scheme. In addition to developing our own skills, it’s great to know that our work will positively affect a whole community, not only improving living standards but also, potentially, saving lives.”


More information

For more information please contact Elliott Connolly. For details on ActionAid and the Bhumija Foundation (a small social development organisation, who are the local implementation partner) please follow links below.


CARE Construction Challenge

Last year a team consisting of two graduates (Andy Mather and Tom Bignell) and a design engineer (Tony Pettigrew) entered a race with the comment on our application form:

“We are unbeaten in the CARE Construction Challenge!”

This was not due to any previous victories, but simply the fact that this was their first year entering the event! However they trained and fundraised hard, and in the end they both managed to raise over £1800 for CARE, and win the competition! Therefore allowing them to continue to utter the egotistical phrase.

One year has passed since then and in a bid to hold on to their hard fought prize, they have entered the competition once again. One more member has been added to their team, Justin Vaughan, a CAD technician, and the same competitive spirit remains. The event is to complete, as a team, 10 miles on foot, 15 miles on a bike and 1.2 miles in a kayak around the lovely hills of Exmoor in Devon. The competition this year will be tough. There are already over 30 other teams entered this year, including three from Ramboll, with another all graduate team consisting of Jacob Fagan, Elliot Connolly and Nick Smallman.

We will try to keep you updated with how our training and fundraising efforts are going and if you find it in your hearts to sponsor us you can do this via our Just Giving page.


Tom Bignall is a Graduate Structural engineer  in the London office.

GDP 2013 – A perspective from The Other Side

The Ramboll Graduate Design Project was a perfect opportunity for the young, enthusiastic graduates to showcase our skills, creativity and imagination to the company; For a few lucky grads, the opportunity has even arisen to present our abilities to the rest of world. I would go so far as to say that for a number of us, we discovered a creative spark that perhaps we didn’t now we had.

The Graduate Design Project split up new starters from around the country into teams of four and we were given the opportunity to enter an international design competition. The three options offered were:

• Design a zombie safe house
• Design a structure to facilitate events in a parking lot in Flint, Michigan
• Design a masterplan to regenerate an urban corridor in Vauxhall, London.

In the daily heat of battle with clients, calculations and design codes, such interesting and brief-light projects offered a refreshing break, since the scope to offer our own input into the creative process is, usually, somewhat constrained. Such a departure from “tried and tested”, on-the-job training hopefully gave us all a little more confidence in our abilities to design things, use our imagination, and perhaps most importantly, to have conviction in our ideas and the confidence to lay our suggestions – with convincing justifications – on the table, no matter how unusual and wacky they may seem to others; Imagine the high level meeting where someone suggested Meerkats to compare car insurance…

What else do I think we learned from this unique experience? Design is hard work! It doesn’t just sneak up on you in your sleep, in the shower or on the tube; Design is the evolution of a basic seed of an idea(s) through research, brainstorms, discussions, drawings, arguments, exploration, confidence, listening, compromise, more arguments, sketches and drawings.

One of the most important things in the design process, however, is not just great ideas, but the ability to realise and communicate them so that they are clear to you, clear to your colleagues, and perhaps most importantly, clear to those who make the final decision, so that everyone can understand where you’re coming from and ultimately share the same enthusiasm and conviction for what you gave your weekends up to conceive! 

Kayvan Ghorani works in London Highways and was a member of Team E. Their project was called The Other Side.





The final presentation board for Group E.

Acoustics on Tour

Members of the acoustics team returned to University this month for careers events at the University of Salford and at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) in Southampton.

Both of the events were specifically aimed at students studying acoustics related courses, so it was a great opportunity to promote what Ramboll has to offer.

As a result of these events, applications have already been received for placement opportunities starting in the summer.

Salford Careers Fair

Rachel Bennett and Raf Orlowski (former student and lecturer respectively) attended the Acoustics, Audio and Video Engineering Event at the University of Salford. The day included an employer panel and tour of the facilities at Media City.

The event was invaluable for meeting students and discussing their interests, and what being a graduate member of Ramboll’s Acoustics team involves. People were interested to hear about our wide range of Acoustics projects, and the opportunities for training and development that Ramboll provides for graduates in general.



Southampton Careers Fair

For the last few years the ISVR has run a very successful Careers Fair for its students. These include undergraduate students taking MEng and BEng degrees in Engineering Acoustics, postgraduate students taking the MSc in Sound and Vibration Studies and PhD students. The aim of this Careers Fair is to demonstrate to students the wide range of openings available to those with expertise in sound and vibration, as well as giving students and employers a chance to meet and interact.

Thomas Jones and Adrian Popplewell (both former students of the ISVR) travelled to Southampton University on 13th February to present on Ramboll Acoustics and give the students an idea of the exciting projects that acoustics can be involved on. There was a positive feedback and a great deal of interest from students applying for summer and permanent placements.  For more information on Ramboll Acoustics graduate opportunities, please contact either Rachel Bennett or Thomas Jones.




Rachel Bennet is Graduate engineer in the Acoustics team in the Cambridge office.