Robin, double degree engineer in wood construction ESB, France / BFH, Switzerland
What did this Franco-Swiss double degree in engineering/master’s degree in wood construction consist of?
Completing this double degree is first and foremost a unique opportunity to gain international experience.
Looking back, I can say that I only spent 3 semesters in Nantes. I first went to Canada, to Vancouver, to study for a semester.
Then, I moved to Bienne in Switzerland for 4 semesters from September 2018 to August 2020 where I joined the Master in Wood Technology option complex structures.
The ESB and BFH programmes are two complementary courses. They provide an important scientific and technological background and experience of the sector which enables a better understanding of the issues and the design of innovative responses.
What were your motivations for joining this double degree in wood construction engineering?
I wanted to go further in the construction, especially in parametric design and more complex structures.
This course has allowed me to discover a country with a strong timber culture and extensive and recognised experience in timber construction.
Would you recommend this double degree in engineering / master in wood construction?
Yes, without hesitation! You need to have a keen interest in technology and the complexity of structures. I had the opportunity to study, for example, the structures of the Centre Pompidou in Metz and the Swatch Building in Bienne.
This double degree is aimed at people who are curious to experience something different. We expect you to be autonomous and rigorous!
There were 7 of us in the class, so it obviously changes the relationship with the teachers and the group, which works in a very collaborative way. The foreign students in the Master’s programme are also older and there is a heavy workload.
What did you learn about yourself? About your job as a wood construction engineer?
In Switzerland, I worked a lot in groups on large projects lasting several months.
This taught me rigour, of course, but I also learned to use creative methods to look for the limits of the material and to propose innovative solutions. This is what is expected of a wood engineer, especially in Switzerland where more exchange between engineers and architects is possible.
What are your professional plans now as a structural wood engineer?
I am looking for a position as an engineer in a wood design office in Switzerland or in the east of France with the desire to settle down a bit.
What interests me is design! I would like to work on the design of large-scale structures with the need to innovate but always in the service of an architectural project.
A final anecdote?
I was in a shared flat with Brazilians, and in classes all week with Iranians, Germans, Swiss, Paraguayans… we always spoke English.
As a result, I had to relearn the technical vocabulary in French that I only knew in English!