Saturday, August 25, 2007

Beautiful Engineering

One Bridge Doesn’t Fit All
American bridge engineering largely overlooks that efficiency, economy and elegance can be mutually reinforcing ideals. This is largely because engineers are not taught outstanding examples that express these ideals.

A 2000 report by the Federal Highway Administration indicated that an average of about 2,500 new bridges are completed each year; each could be an opportunity for better design. The best will be elegant and safe while being economical to build.

The key is to require that every bridge have one engineer who makes the conceptual design, understands construction and has a strong aesthetic motivation and personal attachment to the work. This will require not only a new ethos in professional practice, but also a new focus in the way engineers are educated, one modeled on the approach of those Swiss professors, Wilhelm Ritter and Pierre Lardy.

Via Bridges and code.
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