Rod Bligh delivers prestigious Sir John Butters Memorial Oration
Rod Bligh, Director of Bligh Tanner, had the honour of delivering the 2014 Sir John Butters Memorial Oration – a biennial event that celebrates engineering and the work of engineers within or associated with the Australian Capital Territory.
Rod was invited to speak about his winning entry in the Freefall Experience Design Ideas Competition which will see a landscape-scale sculpture being constructed at the National Arboretum in Canberra to mark the centenary of Engineers Australia in 2019.
Rod’s thought-provoking speech also made reference to the engineering profession in Australia – stressing the importance of competitions in engaging members of Engineers Australia and projecting the institution in a progressive manner to the broader community.
“We are all aware that engineering is generally a background force in society, which generally only comes to the fore at times of disaster and failure like the Christchurch earthquakes or Brisbane floods. It is tantalising to consider the opportunity for a place of deeper reflection on engineers’ contribution to the nation,” he said.
Rod also highlighted the importance of considering aesthetics in design and the value of collaboration.
“While this project has been a special opportunity, it has always been my belief as an engineer that everything we design should be considered from an aesthetic perspective – it should be one of our Design Limit States.
“For instance, why should many of the motorway signage gantries in Queensland look oppressively cumbersome and ill-considered compared to relatively elegant structures spanning similar roads around Melbourne – being engineer-designed is not a valid excuse?
“Much of the built infrastructure around us is in the control of engineers who all have the opportunity to create delight.
“Of course the best work is created when individuals have the opportunity to collaborate with a team that bring different skills and experience with them.”