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Lucie Killen

Lucie Killen

structural engineer, Price & Myers


Construction, Structural, Environmental Management


United Kingdom
My highlights

Recognised in 2022 WES Top 50 Women in Engineering list

Volunteered to build a bridge in Rwanda with the charity Bridges to Prosperity

Being part of a team developing a tool to optimise embodied carbon in structures

A day in my life

At any time, I work on five to 10 individual projects, ranging from home extensions and renovations to historic buildings and large residential projects.

Every day is different, and it never gets boring. I split my time between speaking to clients and colleagues, designing structures and visiting sites.

The design process itself is very varied. It includes calculations and using design software, drawing up sketches on paper, or working with colleagues who create 3D models and drawings.

I enjoy working in a team. Talking through problems helps me to find a solution and it’s a great way to share our knowledge. Every day I learn something new.

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because it’s a great opportunity to be creative, using your knowledge to improve communities.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

Bridges, in general. I’m a big fan of bridges. I love the fact that on a bridge, all the structure is on display. Everyone can see the elegance of the structure and the efficiency of the material.

I also love that they serve such a vital role for society. It’s a good example of where practicality and beauty meet.

We asked Lucie…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

It’s a great opportunity to be creative, using your knowledge to improve communities.

There are so many different projects and jobs within the civil engineering field. Everyone can find a role that’s best suited to their skills.

I always wanted to be a design engineer, but I've tried a few different sectors. What I like most about my career is the variety, creativity and problem solving. It’s a chance to be part of some amazing projects and see the results of all your hard work.

It’s a great feeling when I come up with a good idea to fix a problem, solve an issue or find an elegant solution. And seeing the building you designed come to life is an amazing work satisfaction.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

As a kid I loved building houses of various shapes from Lego.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

I’m a civil engineer but I'm also a gardener. I’ve always loved nature and exploring different beautiful landscapes.

Recently I started growing house plants and started a little vegetable garden. I enjoy learning about plants and how to grow them, and spending time outside.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

It makes me feel useful. I get the chance to contribute to literally building something new.

I like the satisfaction I feel when I solve a problem and see my design go from paper to becoming a real building. I enjoy working in a team with fantastic people.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

The Eden Project. It’s a combination of my two favourite things: a great-looking, elegant structure housing an impressive garden full of beautiful plants.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

The myth that men are better suited to be engineers than women.

Everybody has a different way of looking at things based on their own experience and who they are.

If we build a more inclusive industry with better gender representation, we can encourage diversity of thought and attract new people that will bring new ideas and innovations!

What are you doing to help fight against climate change?

I’m very passionate about protecting our environment and designing sustainable structures with as little environmental impact as possible.

As a structural engineer I can make a bigger difference by reducing the embodied carbon in the structures I design than I could have by changing my personal life. That said, I try to reduce my personal carbon footprint wherever I can.

It’s great that we now focus so much more on the embodied carbon in our structures and how we can reduce it.

It’s becoming a much more important parameter in any structural design, and that thinking allows for more efficient and sustainable structures.

It’s always a challenge, and there isn't a simple answer on how to achieve low carbon design, but it’s an opportunity to be more creative and reduce the impact we have on the environment.

Built in 2001, the Eden Project turned a disused Cornish claypit into a temperature-controlled environment for an entire rainforest - as well as hundreds of other plants.

Eden Project

Built in 2001, the Eden Project turned a disused Cornish claypit into a temperature-controlled environment for an entire rainforest - as well as hundreds of other plants.

Lucie's career path

I studied engineering in Prague, Czech Republic and got my bachelor’s degree in four years.

I spent my third year as an exchange student in Edinburgh and really liked Scotland.

I applied to the University of Glasgow, where I graduated with MSc degree.

My first job was as a graduate engineer in the oil and gas sector, ensuring structural integrity of offshore platforms and increasing their design life.

My next position was working as a civil engineer in a small consultancy, mostly designing drainage structures and platform improvements around Scotland.

Now I work as a structural engineer, designing buildings. I started in a different field of engineering three times and had to learn different aspects of design again and again.

It gave me a broader experience and helped me to figure out what the best path is for me.

In summary:

  • BEng Building Structure, Czech Technical University (Prague, Czech Republic)
  • MSc Structural Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow (Glasgow, UK)
  • Structural integrity engineer, AIG Wood Group (Aberdeen, UK)
  • Civil engineer, MHB Consultants (Glasgow, UK)
  • CEng MICE
  • Structural engineer, Price & Myers (Oxford, UK)

Major projects

  • Panda software
  • Agar Grove 1c, passivhaus residential development, London
  • Private reinforced concrete house, Oxfordshire
  • Restoration of private grade II listed manor house, Oxfordshire
  • New safe access stairs to railway tracks, various locations, Scotland
  • Renewal and replacement of culverts in Network Rail CP5 and CP6, various locations, Scotland
  • New labs and office blocks at Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire
  • Structural integrity and life extension of various oil and gas offshore structures