17 Jul 2023

Simple Works wins inaugural HUB and Archiboo Engineer Pitch

Simple Works has won the inaugural Engineer Pitch, beating six others, the emerging structural engineering practice’s prize is a commission on an upcoming project for HubCap, HUB’s wholly owned subsidiary focussed on low-carbon commercial-to-living building conversions.

The competition was created by HUB to shine a light on the important role engineers play in decarbonising the built environment, especially when it comes to repurposing buildings to avoid unnecessary demolition and waste. Each finalist delivered a three-minute pitch, with HubCap’s recent acquisition, 45 Beech Street, providing a case study for practices to demonstrate their most creative ideas for low carbon, future-focused retrofit solutions.

Simple Works director Laura Hannigan pitched against engineers from six other shortlisted practices, including Civic Engineers, Heyne Tillet Steel, London Structures Lab, Morph Structures, Symmetrys and Webb Yates.

As a member of the UKGBC, HUB is signed-up to the UN’s Race to Zero. Through HubCap’s focus on repurposing buildings, significant reductions in embodied carbon can be made. Structural engineers are key to ensuring these projects are successful, which is why HubCap wants to work with the best minds in the field. The extremely high calibre of presentations at the Engineer Pitch highlighted some of the most exciting solutions being developed and applied in the UK.

Founded in 2019, Simple Works is an emerging London-based structural engineering practice with a focus on serving the communities it builds for as well as the environment. Its pitch focused not just on targeting solutions for an individual HubCap building, but a systems solution looking to create a circular materials loop across multiple buildings. By creating a detailed, digital material audit of each building, materials could transfer between properties as required – not only at the start of a building’s life but throughout.

Damien Sharkey, Managing Director of HUB and HubCap, said:

“Our collaboration with Archiboo on the Engineer Pitch came from our desire to hear structural engineers’ most exciting and innovative ideas for tackling the dual crises we face: the climate emergency and a chronic housing shortage. It was clear from the high calibre of pitches from the seven practices that significant effort had gone into each, which made selecting a winner a difficult task.

“It was a close competition and we’ll be following all the shortlisted practices with interest, especially the up-and-coming engineers that participated. Ultimately however, the judges unanimously agreed that Simple Works presented an outstanding, innovative systems-based approach and philosophy that we can envisage working for a HubCap scheme. We are thrilled with our winner and are looking forward to meeting the rest of the Simple Works team to get to work on our next HubCap project.”

Laura Hannigan, Director of Simple Works and winner of the HUB & Archiboo Engineer Pitch, said:

The pitch event was a really wonderful collection of ideas around low carbon and circular solutions. We established Simple Works specifically to focus on tackling such topics, for the benefit of people and communities so really enjoyed the opportunity to showcase our ideas. We continuously seek out collaborators who share our values, and find that connecting with like-minded people is when true innovation can happen. So we are really looking forward to working with HubCap whose focus on reimagining existing building and priority around people really resonates with us.”