Seeing the big picture

Atkins | 16 Jan 2010 | Comments

Infrastructure projects are, by nature, not small. They are large and complex, and demand planning, engineering design skill and expertise on a multinational scale. They also bones of any project and see the end result.

Consider the Atkins’ competition-winning design of the Shanghai Harbour City Crown Plaza Hotel, to be situated on an island in Lin Gang new town near Shanghai. Atkins’ winning concept was inspired by the lotus flower, one that might be seen “floating” in the lake, particularly by aircraft approaching nearby Pudong international airport. It’s a visionary approach that combines engineering design and planning, but it wouldn’t be possible without the right infrastructure in place.

Such work is not always immediately apparent to those using such structures, as much of the planning and design for any major infrastructure project takes place out of sight. For example, the ongoing renovation of the Belfast sewer network has been designed and project managed by Atkins, and is one of the largest infrastructure investments in the history of the city. And yet, for the people of Belfast, much of the work remains hidden. Its success is defined in part by how little it imposes on the lives of the general public.

Similarly, the work being done by Atkins on the new Gautrain Rapid Rail Link will only be appreciated once the project is complete. Atkins has undertaken detailed design and tunnelling work on the project, which will provide a high-speed link between the capital, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. Tunnelling through hard-rock granite and volcanic lava is only one challenge among many, but without engineering expertise and an appreciation of the surrounding landscape, an infrastructure project on this scale could grind to a halt.

From the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula to the creation of new islands off the coast of Bahrain, infrastructure is more than just a piece of the puzzle. It’s the puzzle itself. And Atkins sees the big picture.

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