Coffee break with… Jorge Soares

A five-minute insight into Jorge Soares' world of engineering

We’re excited to welcome Jorge Ribeirinho Soares to Parmarbrook as a Senior Associate. Jorge’s extensive experience and impressive project portfolio are a significant addition to our team. His expertise in engineering, combined with his commitment to mentoring young minds at London South Bank University, align perfectly with our values and vision for growth and design excellence.

Shared visions, project highlights, and engineering challenges. We covered it all in five minutes with Jorge Soares.

Welcome aboard, Jorge! Tell us a bit about your background.

Jorge Soares: I was born and raised in Porto, a city with a rich heritage in engineering and architecture. Civil engineering has been a part of my life long before I even realised, influenced by my grandfather, a civil engineer and my role model. I aimed to graduate from Porto University, inspired by his legacy. My career kick-started at GOP, a structural engineering consultancy in Porto, collaborating with renowned architects. Moving to London opened new doors, where I joined AKTII, expanding my experience in diverse sectors, including life sciences, commercial, and education.

What sparked your interest in Parmarbrook?

Jorge: Seeking a change, I was drawn to Parmarbrook’s vision and growth ambition. My first meeting with Chetan felt like reconnecting with an old friend. The team’s dynamic, Chetan Parmar‘s visionary approach, and our shared goals made Parmarbrook the perfect fit.

Can you share more about your engineering experiences?

Jorge: I’ve led teams on high-value projects, including the transformative refurbishment of 1 Appold Street, a best-in-class sustainable workplace for British Land and the Gateway East project with Stanhope which was a £270m Lab enabled office. I’m particularly passionate about the evolving life sciences sector and its unique challenges.

Life sciences is a fascinating sector for me. Developers are still learning about the sector and its brief requirements, such as planning grids, loading, floor vibration performance, floor to ceiling heights and adequacy of use raise access floor systems. Will be interesting so see how the industry evolve on this how can we combine all these factors with retrofit.

Lab Enabled Offices. Credit: New London Architecture

Any particular project that stands out in your career?

Jorge: While all projects hold a special place, my current favourite is always the one I’m working on. However, building my team at AKTII remains a career highlight.

What excites you about engineering?

Jorge: The problem-solving process and the potential for long-lasting impact, especially in sustainable engineering, are what drive me. My philosophy is about leading by example and constantly seeking self-improvement.

Rapid fire round: Your favourite building?

Jorge: My choice isn’t a building, but the Arrábida Bridge in Porto, a true architectural masterpiece. There are three key reasons for my admiration: Firstly, at the time of its construction, it held the record as the world’s largest concrete arch bridge. Secondly, its design came from a graduate of my university. Lastly, in a striking display of resilience, despite skepticism from foreign journalists who anticipated its collapse during the 1960s opening ceremony, it proudly stands 60 years later, a testament to enduring engineering excellence.

Ponte da Arrábida

A surprising engineering fact?

Jorge: Rebar, essential in reinforced concrete, ironically, becomes its greatest adversary over time.

And for all our non-engineer readers, what does that mean?

Rebar is the steel that runs through reinforced concrete. Generally, engineers design the concrete to have the rebar in it, as it makes it perform better. But with time, it’s also what will start to corrode, forcing the structure to need to be repaired or, in extreme cases, replaced. Concrete gets better with time, with the rebar it’s the opposite. It’s an interesting analogy.

Career advice that has stayed with you?

Jorge: As my mentor Joao Maria Sobreira advised, no matter how busy, never stop learning new things.

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