Christopher Dixon's Profile

Christopher Dixon's picture

My Gender

Male

A Little about Me

Since quitting my job of 3 years working as a structural engineer in London in April 2016 I have been travelling through Europe and now South/Central America by bicycle, meeting great people and learning different ways of living as I go, before I continue my education in sustainable design in winter 2017. Until then I want to learn how to fend for myself in a changing world whilst also giving my energy to help others realise their own grand plans. I am most interested in projects involving permaculture, sustainable farming or eco construction, something I am very passionate about. I am committed and hard working and I won't let you down. I have some previous hands on experience of sustainable projects that may be useful to you (cob construction mainly) and a broad knowledge of sustainable design factors (passive design etc.).

Additional Photos

Why I Build Sustainably

Sustainable design has been a passion since I began to learn about the key factors driving the need for it's application, with my knowledge of the field progressing during my studies and after that, during my time working within the construction industry. The need to produce more thoughtful and efficient designs has been clear for some time but it is now becoming the subject of greater focus due to the increasingly obvious changes to our climate that are causing problems for communities worldwide. Whilst this is an extremely worrying trend, I get excited thinking about what the future holds for the design of buildings and I am eager to contribute all that I can. For me, having to consider the environment when designing buildings wraps a whole new layer around the design process which then has an impact on every decision. It adds to the challenge and forces one to be more creative when finding holistic solutions that benefit the occupants whilst limiting environmental damage or when possible actually making positive changes.

Skills I would like to Work on or Share.

I have a broad knowledge of sustainable building design methods as well as some hands on experience working with cob and bamboo from projects I have volunteered on this past year. I am most interested in the use of hempcrete, passive design methods and the creation of bamboo structures but I am interested in all aspects of design and construction. I am a qualified and experienced structural engineer and as such I should be able to give advice on the stability and viability of structures if needed. I can also operate a mini caterpillar with experience from a previous project. I love to play all sports, have been learning to slackline and am always on the lookout for a chess partner! I can speak Spanish to an intermediate level and I do my best to seek any opportunity to improve

My Life Philosophy

I am wholeheartedly against waste in all its forms. Wasted food, time, materials, potential, energy, opportunities...

Building Styles I have Experience in

Cob
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Stone/Flint walls
Hemp lime construction, bamboo, terracotta panels, passive design methods..
For the Love Shack we constructed woven bamboo domes on foundations of local stone by cutting, steaming and splitting the bamboo. The linked domes were then coated with cob that we mixed on site by hand or using a mini caterpillar. The bamboo had to be cut, steamed and split. Much of the wood we used for framing and details was from fallen trees or branches gathered from a nearby wood. I a!so built a rotating bamboo composter for Terra Nova de Corazon and learnt a bit about growing fruit and vegetables. Regarding hemp lime construction and terracotta panelling, I have applied the design features, materials and construction methods theoretically and tested their performance using advanced environmental modelling software (IES VE). I was in contact with the company Tradical Ltd. from the UK regarding the use of Hempcrete (hemp shiv + lime mortar) for an eco house design and hospital project.

My Occupation

Volunteer for The Hexagonal House, Spain (Nov 2016); Volunteer for The Love Shack, France (Aug 2016 - Oct 2016); Volunteer for Terra Nova de Corazón, Ecuador (June 2016 - July 2016); Volunteer for Fundacion Goles de Corazon, Colombia (Apr 2016 - June 2016); Structural Engineer for AKS Ward in London (2013-2016); Worked at many music festivals and events within the UK every summer for the past 5 years

Building Styles I'm Interested in

Cob
Rammed Earth
Earthship/used tires
Straw Bale
Adobe/Mud Bricks
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Thatched
Hemp lime construction, terracotta panelling, bamboo structures:
I did a great amount of research as part of an eco house design I completed for my dissertation and this really sparked off my interest in the specific aspects of sustainable design, as I had to make choices for inclusion in the final submission; I read many case studies and tested materials using environmental software etc. I am particularly interested in using bamboo and hemp as construction materials because of the ease with which they can be grown in almost any environment and the carbon they sequester during their growth. This is allied to the incredible structural and thermal properties they can possess; in many cases comparable or better than those of more commonly used (and much more environmentally damaging) construction materials

My Education

Architectural Engineering Masters Degree (MEng) - Cardiff University (2009-2013) Attended numerous lectures and events related to sustainable development whilst living in London

My Eating Habits

Omnivore
Vegetarian
I don't eat meat very often, but when I do it's almost always chicken