Niri Arambepola | WSP

Niri Arambepola

I went to school in north London where I excelled at maths and physics but really enjoyed art classes. I wanted a profession that would combine drawing with science. Aged 15 I did a week of work experience in an architecture practice where I learnt the most important thing of my entire career: what structural engineering was.

I went on to study General Engineering at Newnham College, Cambridge University. I studied the basics of different types of engineering before specialising in structures. Newnham is a women’s college so I experienced an all-female living environment and a male dominated studying environment. In the engineering department I quickly came to believe that a woman could succeed in a “man’s industry”.

After graduating, I started working at WSP where I still work now, 5 years later. I have been fortunate to work on some amazing projects in central London and Heathrow airport. These include the Shell Centre- a challenging project in central London consisting of seven new towers, built over several tube lines. On this project I have designed the structure for two of the towers as well as a large section of the shared basement. I have worked on this from concept design through to construction and it is fantastic to see buildings I have designed in real life.

In 2012 I co-founded the Structurally Found competition- a photo treasure hunt designed to tell the general public about the amazing engineering surrounding them. After a lot of planning and persuading, Structurally Found became a part of Open House Weekend in 2014 and attracted 3000 entries from around the world. We ran the event again in 2015 and 2016, adapting and expanding it each time.

I continue to work on a variety of projects at WSP, and am currently preparing for my chartership.

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