“Projects have to fit the brief for efficiency and economy, but engineering is not all about numbers and figures. I try to facilitate the architects’ dreams … without stepping on their toes!”
Since graduating with a combined structural engineering and architecture masters’ degree in 2006, Tuan’s built up a portfolio of high-end commercial, residential, retail and complex refurbishment projects in the UK. He specialises in working around severe site constraints, becoming an authority on projects constructed over/adjoining rail lines, tunnels or viaducts. In typically modest fashion he describes his career trajectory as “a happy accident of falling into things.”
Improving the sustainability of projects — particularly refurbishments — is a something Tuan finds empowering. In his words, “Most buildings are not sustainable but we don’t have to accept that – we can improve them step by step. We make a difference by standardising, we increase longevity through flexibility, and we help clients understand the carbon footprint of different options.”
He views collaboration and teamwork as crucial to project success. He runs a team of associates and engineers, understanding the importance of matching people with tasks to find the right fit for the job, fostering creativity and respect. He works collaboratively with all stakeholders and relishes delving into the details — transforming architectural concepts into structural reality, sketching out ideas, ensuring briefs are correct and liaising effectively with clients. And in turn, clients like to do repeat business with him.
Tuan describes his role at Whitby Wood as project upkeep and delivery, bringing in a steady flow of work through fee proposals, bid interviews and framework agreements. He looks after our recruitment strategy too, scrutinising the selection/interview process for unbiased diversity, equality and inclusion. Seeing the new recruits growing in confidence and ability gives him real pride.
Tuan’s notable projects include the John Lewis building, Victoria Gate, Leeds — reinforced concrete frame with external structural steel diagrid supporting precast cladding mullions and glazing; redevelopment of Southern Gas storage site, Wandsworth, south London — contaminated ground, repurposing former gasholder tank as basement for reinforced concrete frame residential tower and canal infilling; development of Daedalus waterfront, Southampton — historic former Royal Naval Air Service site, and refurbishment of Grade II listed 1970s Mountbatten House, Basingstoke, originally designed by Arup Associates — insertion of mezzanine floors and openings in existing floor plates, installation of glulam timber spiral staircase.
In his free time Tuan plays high-level tennis, looks at life through a camera lens (see @tuanify on Instagram) and works on his photography skills.
TEL +44 (0)20 7442 2216