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Message - Re: design vs. engineering

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Posted by  Manuel Oliveros on September 29, 2002 at 08:26:32:

In Reply to:  Re: design vs. engineering posted by Paul Malo on September 27, 2002 at 06:43:11:

In questions about the meaning of words if is always worth to look closely to the words themselves. Design conveys will, fate, destiny, intent, purpose, that is, the definition of what is to be built according to the envisaged conditions. Engineering is some derivation of genius, and "ingenio", machine, something that has inside genius, something so smart that makes the machine move, so extreme (and practical) insight about the nature of the thing is implied, and its pratical use to some end as well.

Words suffer along time a distillation where lots of meanings are accumulated, and make some of the variants prevail in the standing meaning. In the past a carpenter was an architect, as it was a boat builder. God was said to be the supreme architect because that then encompassed the whole ability imagined standing.

As I point, in Spain even in the early XX century some of the bridges were still to the sign of an architect, what surely was the general case here in the XIX century. Hence the differentiation of architecture and engineering in the linked but somewhat separate meanings and practices standing today is relatively close to us in time. Not surprisingly and related to what above said, we in Spain are still Architects that are as well the Engineers of the buildings in practice, for even today we retain in fact the technical design of structures, and 20 years ago, even that of mechanical services.

The continuity of the architect engineer here may have given lease of life to our masonry way of understanding architecture, where concrete and brick are general, whereas the technical successes hold by USA as nation must have led people there to embrace architectures of components, wood and steel. So both individuals and countries have personal preferences in how to deal with buildings, and some are closer to design and fidelity to what wanted, and others to how and efficiently build.

In fact the two are intimately related, and even if the juxtaposition of building components is a condition of our present architectures built in accretion, it will be very rare, on the sight of one with my views on Architecture, to see any building that can be termed successful where both aspects of design and construction are not quite perfectly integrated.

Conversely, one can almost immediately point to lack of coordination between design and engineering to lots of failures in buildings, both under the technical and the architetural viewpoints.

 
 
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