“500 Women in Property”, a campaign by Property Council of Australia, is aimed at supporting and promoting women in the property and construction industry. The initiative was launched in Australia in 2017 and seeks to identify and showcase 500 women across the country who act as mentors and role models for other women in the industry. The campaign also seeks to create networking opportunities and encourage more women to enter and advance in the industry.
This campaign is part of a broader effort to foster a more diverse and inclusive industry that offers equal opportunities for women to thrive and succeed. Steensen Varming is proud to sponsor one of our team members, Diksha Vijapur, who has been accepted into the program this year.
Diksha has been with Steensen Varming since 2008, where she started as a graduate engineer and advanced to her current position as a Senior Sustainability Consultant. In addition to her professional achievements, she is also pursuing a PhD focused on designing learning environments, which she can integrate with her work at Steensen Varming on projects that centre around schools. She is passionate about implementing the findings from her research to create more effective and sustainable learning spaces.
Diksha is excited about participating in the “500 Women in Property” campaign as an opportunity to gain new insights and collaborate with other women in the industry. With her wide range of experience and interests, she is eager to expand her network across different sectors that align with her various passions.
As someone who could see herself in a leadership role in the future, Diksha recognizes the need to continuously develop her leadership skills. She believes the campaign is an ideal steppingstone to achieve this goal. By participating in the program, she hopes to gain the knowledge and skills required to carry out the responsibilities that come with a leadership position in the industry.
In the heart of Aarhus, Denmark, stands the Aarhus City Hall, a stunning masterpiece of functionalist architecture. The buildings striking design is the result of a fierce competition to secure the contract for its construction, won by the visionary architect Arne Jacobsen.
Jacobsen’s determination to win the bid was evident in his phone call to Jørgen Varming, where he demanded that Varming secure the vote of an engineer to the jury. Jacobsen‘s persistence paid off, and he was awarded the contract to design the new city hall.
The resulting building is a triumph of functional design, with every element carefully considered and optimized for both form and function. As with all of Arne Jacobsen‘s work, the buildings aesthetic is marked by clean lines, geometric shapes, and an emphasis on simplicity and functionality.
Our team had the privilege of providing civil, structural and mechanical building services for this classic work of architecture. Every detail, from the concealed conduits conforming to strict ordering principles to the timber cladding allowing for light and air transmission, was intentionally designed for optimal functionality and aesthetics. This attention to detail has made Aarhus City Hall a timeless masterpiece of Danish architecture.
Aarhus City Hall is now both the administrative centre of Aarhus and a popular venue for cultural events and exhibitions. Its legacy as an architectural and cultural landmark is a testament to Arne Jacobsen’s vision and determination to secure the contract, ensuring his iconic design will inspire for generations.
Steensen Varming have throughout this week celebrated International Women’s Day and will continue the celebration of female empowerment throughout the month in acknowledging Women’s History Month.
We stand together with UN Women and the United Nations in celebrating under the theme of DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. Despite progress, a persistent gender gap in digital access still exists, limiting women’s ability to fully leverage technology’s potential. Women’s underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remains a significant obstacle to their participation in technological design and governance. Additionally, online gender-based violence, coupled with a lack of legal resource, often forces women out of the digital spaces they do occupy.
The United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. It calls on governments, activists, and the private sector to continue their efforts to create a digital world that is safer, more inclusive, and more equitable.
The hashtag #EmbraceEquity is a good reminder of the long road ahead and the work that is yet to be done, equity is an aspiration that we must pursue every day.
Steensen Varming is proud of all of the women we have as a part of our team and the great work they contribute every day.
In continuing the International Women’s Day celebration and acknowledging Women’s History Month, we introduce Katrín who has been with Steensen Varming for a year as a Digital Designer.
Katrín tells us that she has always been interested in art and diverse ways of expression. Her mother nurtured this interest in her by helping her find various creative outlets from an early age. Katrin’s educational background is in fine arts and photography which she later expanded into graphic design, marketing, and communication and finally a degree in digital concept development.
Reflecting on her past, Katrín remarks, “When I was younger, I saw myself becoming an artist in a traditional sense. I do consider myself an artist in certain respects today, but my journey has led me down a path I would not have guessed a few years ago.”
When asked about inspiring women in her life Katrín looks up to the women in her family and tells us about their support and pride in her accomplishments despite her life choices being vastly different from theirs, and says it is important to her to show the same support and enthusiasm to the young girls and women in her life. Katrín continues to mention the support system at the workplace, especially during her first months at the company. She says the women on her team always have each other’s backs and have actively helped in creating opportunities for her positive professional and personal development.
In the time Katrín has been with Steensen Varming, she consistently contrbutes by offering a fresh perspective and a keen eye for design and, is looking forward to continuing her work and bringing on new ways of expressing the Steensen Varming brand to both internal and external parties.
During our conversation we asked Katrín what advice she would give to young women embarking on their careers. Katrín emphasized it is acceptable to not have a clear-cut plan and not to view uncertainty as a hurdle to overcome. She shared her own experience of feeling pressure to have everything in order but, in hindsight, recognized the significance of the journey that has led her to where she is today. Katrín concluded by reiterating the importance of supporting younger women and limiting judgement of individual choices, acknowledging that such support can alleviate the pressure that many women encounter when making big life decisions.
International Women‘s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. It is a day to celebrate women and promote female empowerment. At Steensen Varming, we participate in this global celebration by introducing some of the strong women who contribute to the success of our global team.
Starting with Michelle, Michelle has been with Steensen Varming since 2007 and has held various roles within the company eventually growing into an HR role. Michelle was the first person in her family to earn a degree in the early 2000s, but her background lies in anthropology, sociology and British neolithic archaeology. At the time, she had no idea her journey would take her to where she is today and over the years Michelle has added various HR qualifications to her impressive list of studies.
One of Michelle’s biggest female inspirations belongs to the Steensen Varming family, a former business manager and Michelle’s first female boss at the company – Michelle admired her pragmatic approach to management and mentoring and has since used the experience as inspiration in her own work.
With engineering being a traditionally male-dominated industry, we asked Michelle how she thinks we can encourage more women to pursue a career in engineering? Michelle believes gender stereotypes have much to do with exposure during early years and that increased exposure to women in engineering roles might spark an interest within young girls and women. She continues to say Steensen Varming wants to help in creating this exposure by actively involving our female engineers in mentoring activities, both within and outside of the organisation.
Michelle further emphasized the importance of flexibility. Flexibility to support women’s career transitions as well as encouraging men to be more flexible and share responsibilities that are often female led. To help push these changes forward, Steensen Varming has policies and procedures that are updated on a regular basis, offering flexibility, and continuously improving the company to create an inclusive work environment.
Being in an HR role, Michelle’s work largely focuses on implementing positive changes and educating our team in present-day scenarios but looking to the future. Michelle hopes the work she does contributes to creating permanent positive changes in the workplace including the generations of women to come.
Today, in celebration of Engineering Day, we are pleased to introduce Chris Arkins, our esteemed Director who is based in Sydney with active involvement in all our global studios. With over three decades of experience in the field, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge that he enthusiastically shares with our team.
Chris discovered Steensen Varming early on in his engineering career, as an undergraduate in his final year of study. Although he has since diversified his experience, he has always remained connected to our company. Chris reflects on his time with Steensen Varming in the 2000s, specifically the inspiring focus on sustainability our company embodied during that era. Sustainable engineering solutions have become essential and increasingly demanded in the recent years, however, 20 years ago, this was not necessarily the norm in the industry at large.
Chris first started practicing mechanical engineering, but over the years has developed a diverse set of skills that allow him to contribute to sustainability-focused projects from a technical and mechanical standpoint, and in this he ultimately found his niche. He takes pleasure in sharing his knowledge and expertise both within and outside of the Steensen Varming community, and as he has grown in the industry, he finds enjoyment in teaching others and engaging in activities that allow him to share his experience and expertise with those newer to our company and the industry.
Chris is determined in delivering on the company’s promises as they align with his own ethos of always striving for the best possible outcomes. He emphasizes the significance of good and sustainable long-term design solutions, stating that Steensen Varming continually strives to work on the best projects with the best clients.
Recently, Steensen Varming achieved a B Corporation certification, a testament to our company’s adherence to high standards of social and environmental performance. When asked about the certification’s relevance to the company’s plans, Chris stresses the company’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, ethical responsibility, and social accountability. He notes the B Corporation certification serves as a tool to hold ourselves accountable while demonstrating to others in the industry that we are genuinely who we say we are.
Chris has been with the company for both the 70th and 80th anniversaries and when asked about the company’s upcoming plans in relation to this year being the company’s 90th anniversary, he is happy to see the milestone celebrated globally throughout the year with events in our different locations. He believes these celebrations will strengthen the bond among our studios, allowing them to celebrate together and ensuring everyone feels included in honoring our collective achievements over the years. Chris concludes by expressing excitement about reaching the company’s 100-year milestone. Having experienced and celebrated three significant anniversaries already, he feels the 100th anniversary will arrive soon enough and is eager to see what challenges and opportunities are awaiting to be revealed in the coming years.
Introducing Nina Shea, whose passion for problem-solving and a drive to make a difference has made her a valuable contributor to the industry.
Nina holds the position of Senior Engineer for Building Services & Sustainability and has been an esteemed member of the Steensen Varming team for the past three years with her career spanning almost a decade of experience in the industry.
Nina readily takes on new challenges and seeks opportunities for growth. In her three years with us, she has worked in multiple studio locations, including Hong Kong and London, and is set to relocate to our Sydney studio later this year to further develop her professional skills and contribute to our team’s success.
We asked Nina what her favorite part about being an engineer is. She shared about the fulfilment she finds in problem-solving as each project presents unique challenges that require creative and analytical thinking. Her passion for mathematics and logic helps her navigate complex design and technical issues. As an engineer she enjoys engaging with a diverse range of people, from clients to fellow professionals, fostering learning and growth through shared insights.
Engineers play a crucial role in many industries, from building and infrastructure to energy and environmental projects. As society becomes increasingly aware of the impact that human activities have on the planet, sustainability has become an increasingly important focus for many engineers.
From designing buildings that minimize energy consumption and waste, to developing new technologies that reduce our environmental impact, engineers are at the forefront of the sustainability movement.
While the pursuit of sustainability can come with a higher price tag, the long-term benefits are clear. Engineers must balance the need for cost effective solutions with the desire to make a positive impact on the environment and society.
“Engineers are everywhere,” Nina says, “with the sustainability aspect of the industry being an interesting move forward.”
The issue of gender balance in the engineering industry is one that has been long-standing and persistent. With the field being predominantly male dominated, it is important to explore ways to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering. During our interview, we asked Nina for her thoughts on this matter and what steps we can take to promote gender diversity in the industry.
Nina highlighted the importance of visibility and representation, stating that having more women in visible roles within the industry would inspire and encourage other to pursue engineering as a career. She also emphasized the need for strong female role models who can demonstrate that a successful career in engineering is attainable for women.
Nina’s perspective on this issue aligns with the broader conversation surrounding the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the engineering industry. As an organization, we recognize the need for a diverse workforce and are committed to promoting gender diversity and providing equal opportunities for all. We believe that by fostering a culture of inclusivity and promoting the visibility of women in engineering, we can create a more equitable and vibrant industry that is better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future.
Gagandeep Jadhav is a recent graduate engineer who joined our team at Steensen Varming’s Sydney studio six months ago. This is his first experience of working within the field but in this short time, Gagandeep has quickly established himself as an integral member of our team, bringing a fresh perspective and a deep passion for sustainable engineering to every project he works on.
Gagandeep comes from an architectural background but was drawn to sustainable engineering as the field offers the opportunity to tackle some of the most pressing and complex challenges humanity is facing today. Climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion are just a few examples of the issues that require innovative, interdisciplinary solutions drawing on the latest scientific, technological, and social insights. As a sustainability engineer, Gagandeep is driven to devise holistic approaches that consider environmental, social, and economic factors and seeks to balance them in a way that is equitable and sustainable over the long term.
Gagandeep’s favorite part about his job is the possibility to create positive change in the world through his work. He embraces the challenges that come with his role and finds enjoyment in coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems.
When asked about his experiences as a recent graduate and what advice he would give to someone considering a career in engineering, Gagandeep emphasizes the importance of passion for the field. He believes that a lack of interest can lead to a lack of fulfilment, but for those who are passionate about engineering, it can be a highly rewarding and satisfying career. He himself finds fulfilment in knowing that he is an active part of something that can create a positive impact on a lot of lives.
Gagandeep has found a supportive community at Steensen Varming, with coworkers who eagerly share knowledge and expertise, offer support, and provide valuable insights. He values the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally and is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in his career.
In celebration and acknowledgement of Engineering Day, also known as Global Day of the Engineer or World Engineering Day, we would like to recognize the skilled individuals within our organization and honor the contributions of engineers to the world by helping to promote the role of engineering in our modern society.
Engineering Day was first proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2019, and it aims to celebrate the contributions that engineers make to society and raise awareness of the importance of engineering in addressing global challenges.
We aim to encourage and inspire the future generation of engineers and in taking a step towards achieving this, we will be publishing a series of interviews leading up to Engineering Day, where our talented engineers will share their experiences and work. Through these interviews we hope to show the importance of engineering and motivate aspiring engineers to pursue their goals.
Follow along for the next few days to hear from Nina Shea, Gagandeep Jadhav and our Director Chris Arkins.