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French structural engineer and architect.

Biographical Information

Name: Nicolas Sterling
Born in 1976
Place(s) of activity:
1994 - 2002 Studies in architecture at the École d’Architecture Paris La Villette (Paris).
1997 - 2004 Studies at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris.
1999 - 2002 Part-time student engineer and architect at HDA Hugh Dutton Associates, Paris.
2002 Degree in architecture (Architecte DPLG) from the École d’Architecture Paris La Villette (Paris).
2002 - 2005 Structural engineer and architect at HDA Hugh Dutton Associates, Paris.

Masters Degree in Civil Construction Engineering from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (Paris).

2005 - 2009

Structural engineer for the Advanced Geometry Unit (AGU) at Arup in London.

2009 - 2011

Senior Engineer for Arup (BEL6) in London.

2011 - 2017

Associate Director at AKT II (Adams Kara Taylor) in London.

Since 2017

Co-founder and design director of SPANS Associates in Berlin, Germany.

Notes & Comments

Nicolas Sterling is a qualified and chartered Structural Engineer and Architect. He graduated from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris and the School of Architecture Paris La Villette.

He co-founded SPANS associates in 2017, an architecture and engineering consultancy, based in Berlin. He was previously Associate Director at AKTII Adams Kara Taylor, leading a building group of 12 Engineers and Technicians, delivering buildings and special structures. He joined ARUP Advanced Geometry Unit in 2005, a specialist team within ARUP led by Cecil Balmond, and has been part of ARUP Building Engineering Group, in London up to 2011. His “design-led” approach and interest in innovative form, and complex structures have allowed him to work on cutting-edge projects with leading architectural practices and renowned designers as Zaha Hadid, Shigeru Ban, Ron Arad or Anish Kapoor, and involved in a wide range of programmes such as sculptures, canopies, buildings and footbridges as an integrated design. Nicolas is passionate about emerging technologies and creativity in the design process, believing in the crossover between architecture, design, and engineering, driven by experimentation and cross-fertilization between disciplines. Prior to 2005, Nicolas worked with Hugh Dutton at HDA in Paris on lightweight structures, long span footbridges, and facades, developing technical and detailing concepts as a key point in the architectural process.

He is regularly lecturing and regular reviewer and adviser in schools of architecture and engineering.

Structures and Projects

Participation in the following structures & large-scale projects:

project leader
structural engineer


  1. Sterling, Nicolas / Janssen, Jeroen / Hind, Peter (2017): The structure of the “Grand Théâtre de Rabat”: from digital design to local fabrication. Presented at: Interfaces: Architecture, Engineering, Science, Annual Meeting of the International Association of Shell & Spatial Structures (IASS), Hamburg, 25-27 September 2017.
  2. Bosia, Daniel / Kragh, Mikkel / Kwok, Michael / Sterling, Nicolas (2010): The Denmark Pavilion, Expo 2010 Shanghai. In: The Arup Journal, v. 45, n. 2 ( 2010), pp. 25.
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