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Max Fordham: Engineering Ideas, Engineering Change

8 Mar–19 Apr 2023

Max Fordham (1933 – 2022) was a visionary engineer and pioneer of low energy, sustainable building design.

His courage, intellectual rigour and engaging personality allowed him to form creative partnerships that drove the evolution of environmental design into the mainstream.

Max pursued a new approach to engineering based on his insatiable curiosity about how buildings work. Applying the fundamental principles of physics and an intuitive understanding of the flows of heat, light and air, Max developed approaches for the passive design of buildings that influenced and elegantly complemented the architecture.

Max and his practice won significant and varied recognition for their work in ensuring human comfort and minimising the energy use of buildings. Max’s final project, his own award-winning Passivhaus home, embodied the ideas and approaches he had championed throughout his career, and became the first home to achieve net zero carbon in line with the UKGBC’s Framework.

This exhibition presented a curated collection of drawings, models, original letters and videos from Max’s life and career. Through seminal projects from the last 50 years, the exhibition explored many of his key ideas and their impact on the design of the built environment.


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