By Michael Phillips
Every year architects, engineers and surveyors studying at IIPLE construction school visit a different European city as part of their EU sponsored program to broaden their knowledge before embarking on a work experience at home.
This year Berlin was chosen for a lucky 18 students, whose ages varied from 18-40+ years old. IIPLE’s president Mauro Vignoli, course manager Luisa Sileni and technical English teacher Michael Phillips accompanied them on the four-day trip.
The trip takes place every year travelling to a different country with two main objectives to the visit: 1, IIPLE is very interested to know about how other countries develop BIM construction methods and 2, the course is focussed on three particular areas: energy efficiency, refurbishment to reduce environmental impact and developing ITC.
The Institute for Vocational Training of Construction Workers in the province of Bologna (I.I.P.L.E.) was established in 1947 and for more than 65 years it has provided training for all professional profiles in the construction industry, in order to update, qualify and refine employees in the construction sector, as well as professionals and young people who wish to join this sector. It is an Institute managed by a board of directors made up equally from The Association of Businesses and The Workers Trade Union.*
First stop in the schedule was the Technical School Max-Bill-Schule, OSZ Planen Bauen Gestalten. Professor Dr. Hans-Jürgen Lindemann introduced our students to a break-down of their curriculum highlighting how the Berlin system invests heavily in providing students with great access to education, even if they change their minds half way through their studies, need a break or find life difficult. They produce many research papers to examine how students’ lives are being constantly impacted with technology, future jobs market and surprisingly, migration.
Academic Coordinator Phillip Hebert introduced the TU – Technische Universitaet to our students at the futuristic EUREF-Campus in the south of the city. It boasts state of the art buildings highly optimised for energy saving and minimising environmental impact. People zipped around the campus on electric foot scooters. One of their top students presented an architectural project to our class before his team were heading off to America to present the same project in a global competition.
Our first company was in fact a Biogas plant BSR west of Berlin. Our host was Dr Thomas Kloecher who explained how the state of Brandenburg manages their city waste. Although, not strictly related to the construction field, they nevertheless embody a perfect example of the circular economy, whilst also trying to make lives better for local citizens. Their approach to building the plant was just as eye opening since they involved everyone possible in the neighbourhood to make sure that all had a say in its construction.
The second visit including Arcadis, an internationally renowned architectural company. Our students were treated to a delightful surprise, as one of the presenters was Italian – who spoke great English! Elze Van Langen and Marco Mondello gave a very up-to-date analysis as to how the future of architecture was changing dramatically and that if students want to survive in this filed they must adapt very quickly to the technological progress sweeping the world.
An incredibly bigly thank you goes to all those who organised, helped, participated and especially hosted our students in Berlin.