Entry Level

I mentioned a few days ago that railroad stations were among the first buildings in the US to need the services of structural engineers in design. The other group consisted of gyms and other large indoor spaces. Wood trusses were the traditional method of creating long-span roofs, but not compatible with late-1800s new ideas about …

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Hybrids or Kludges?

The line between a clever hybrid design solution and a Rube-Goldbergesque kludge isn’t thin: it’s non-existent. What looks like a clever mix of design elements at one time or for one purpose may look like a mess at another time or when the goals change. The question about any design, therefore, is whether it made …

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At The Smallest Scale

Engineers in general spend a lot of time modeling and organizing reality in design. Looking only at structural engineers, a large difference between those who design new buildings and those of us who work with existing buildings is the starting point of the models. New-building analysis and design typically starts with an architectural concept, and …

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Against Standardization

I’ve spent almost a week arguing in favor of standardization, and I want to end by arguing against it. All of the arguments I’ve made in favor still hold, it’s just that there are times when they’re not valid. Those times all share a specific trait: things are unsettled. What things? It depends on what …

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