Structural engineer, str.ucture Founder and Kassel University Professor, Julian Lienhard, is creating lightweight structures with an innovative approach. that uses calculation and simulation to minimise both physical materials and manufacturing effort.
“What I love most about my job is that it’s a completely new and different challenge every time. I don’t have the one solution for everything or the one software or the one design methodology. At str.ucture, we’ve learned to mix software packages and to code tools to make them talk to each other. The result of that is a hybrid system where you’re not working with only timber or steel or a specific typology of systems. It’s a blend which combines the best to make them even better.”
Raised in the north of Germany with his older brother and younger sister, Julian’s Waldorf education nourished his creativity and fascination for the arts. The defining moment, he says, came when his father secured a contract in Johannesburg which saw the family move to South Africa for his final year of secondary school. “There’s a tradition in Waldorf schools in year 12 that you can self-define your own project, whatever you want to do. I was really into rock climbing at that time, so I suggested that I would build a climbing wall. It turned into this mega project. I was given the chance to go to a civil engineering office to learn how to draw reinforcements designed for the concrete structure, how concrete works and how to do the drawings for everything.” He created a network of local builders to donate their surplus concrete and with support from his mother he sourced day workers to help him construct it. The result was an 8m concrete climbing wall which is still there and hosts climbing competitions for local schools.