The Shard engineer has long been fascinated by the technical ingenuity of design. Now she wants to help us see the built environment with similar wonder
Roma Agrawal likes to stroke concrete. Her snaps from a holiday in Italy are of arches and bricks (“so many different types of arches,” she enthuses, “so many different types of bricks”). A typical leisure activity – “a few weekends of good geeky fun” – is building a large Lego model of Big Ben. The man who is now her husband, whom she initially disparaged to her friends as “Flirtman”, wooed her by sending daily emails on a “Bridge of the Day”. (“An example of why you should do a proper damping analysis,” read the first, which was about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse of 1940.) “When we realised the geeky fascination we both had,” she says, “we clicked.”
She loves buildings, construction, materials, the ways in which things stand up, how they’re built and the stories of how they got to be there, the interactions of humanity, matter and mathematics that give us skyscrapers and bridges. Also more modest structures. “I wake up in a warm home. Why is it not sinking or falling down? Every minute of the day its structure is working. Who are the people behind that?”
I have the feeling there were very entrepreneurial women around, but their stories have been lost
Related: Portrait of a young female engineerContinue reading...