Robin, 1st graduated engineer from double degree in wood construction ESB, FRANCE / BFH, SWITZERLAND
WHAT DID THIS FRANCO-SWISS DOUBLE DEGREE IN ENGINEERING/MASTER’S DEGREE IN WOOD CONSTRUCTION CONSIST OF?
First of all, doing this double degree is a unique opportunity to have international experiences.
Looking back, I can say that I only spent three semesters in Nantes. I first went to Vancouver, Canada, to study for a semester.
I then moved to Biel in Switzerland for 4 semesters from September 2018 to August 2020 where I joined the Master in Wood Technology with a focus on complex structures.
The ESB and BFH programmes are two complementary courses. They allow you to have an important scientific and technological background and an experience of the sector which allows you to better understand the issues and to design innovative responses.
WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVATIONS FOR TAKING THIS DOUBLE DEGREE IN WOOD CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING?
I wanted to go further in construction, particularly in parametric design and more complex structures.
This course enabled me to discover a country with a strong wood culture and extensive and recognised experience in wood construction.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS DOUBLE DEGREE IN ENGINEERING / MASTER IN WOOD CONSTRUCTION?
Yes, without hesitation! You need to have a strong interest in the technology and complexity of structures. I had the opportunity to study, for example, the structures of the Pompidou Centre in Metz and the Swatch Building in Biel.
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 this inevitably 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 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 exchanges between engineers and architects are possible.
WHAT ARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROJECTS NOW AS A STRUCTURAL WOOD ENGINEER?
I’m looking for a job as a timber engineer 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 living in a flat with Brazilians, and studied in classes all week with Iranians, Germans, Swiss, Paraguayans… we always spoke English.
As a result, I had to relearn some technical vocabulary in French that I only knew in English