Interview with James O'Callaghan – 2018 SentryGlas® Innovation Award Winner for the Steve Jobs Theater Pavilion
‘Laminated Glass News’ speaks to James O’Callaghan, the winner of SentryGlas® Innovation Award in the Engineering category for the Steve Jobs Theater Pavilion project, to find out what drives him and his company, especially in relation to materials and technological advances and how they are successfully exploited.
Founded in 2004 by Brian Eckersley and James O’Callaghan, Eckersley O’Callaghan describes itself as a structural design practice that truly integrates engineering and architecture. Since its foundation, the company has gone from strength to strength − with over 90 professionals working on projects around the world − and now counts some of the world's most valuable companies as clients.
Its work with structural glass has received some of the highest accolades in the industry, including the IStructE Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence, while its use of other materials in structural and façade engineering has gained similar recognition.
We started by asking James what he thinks his company is particularly well known for.
“Your opinion of how you think you are seen and how you are actually seen varies,” he explains. “I think we are recognised as being at the creative end of engineering. We also like to think that we are known for pushing the boundaries of structural engineering, including the use of non-typical materials and, more recently, composites.
“We are creative thinkers. We certainly look for interesting ways to solve structural problems using appropriate materials, while also keeping an eye on alternative materials and how we can use them in the future. Many of our major successes have revolved around the development and use of structural glass and associated materials. We certainly leverage and exploit innovation and I think it is this that really makes us stand apart.”
When asked to elaborate on these innovative concepts and how they come about, he continues:
“We push the envelope. We’re not completely different to other engineering companies, but we have more of a focus on research and innovation as the core of our offering. We’re always looking to leverage internal research, as long as it is appropriate to the challenge in hand. We are true believers that there is the right solution to any challenge, and we have the willingness to exploit new ideas... as long as they deliver the right solution…