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Why did Ted Happold’s combined course in architecture and engineering fail?


A very good article by Paul about one of the most inspiring events I have been to in ages. For the record I did not attend Teds course. I did pure Mechanical Engineering at Bath. I came to the same conclusions as him via a route of working for Max Fordham, setting up my own company Fulcrum and teaching architects at diploma level at UNL with Mark Hewitt. Shanes contribution is also both thoughtfull and thought provoking. What is the difference between engineering and architecture in the field of the built environment ? How can we benefit from those differences rather than suffer their consequences? I entered my course wanting to be a designer. On my course I met few engineers who wanted to do this in the way I meant - true holistic design. I met a few but not many. So perhaps when you enter a course you dont realy know what it is . I could have entered architecture and indeed I considered it. But I did not want to design things that stood still and were stuck to the ground. ( life is odd is it not) How many architects also entered their course to learn to design rather than for a love of buildings. I visited Thomas Heatherwicks exhibition at the V and A the other day and realised that this is what I mean by design. Not just buildings, not graphics, not pipes , but something deeper. Long term I have found the complex relationship between people and buildings very rewarding. I think the routes between architecture and engineering need to be opened up to allow more cross fertilisation and movement. I think many engineers would welcome this not all want the years of Maths involved and some of the most creative are probably shocked and ultimately crushed by it. The future built environment desperatly needs understanding of the 'numbers' but its a matter of teaching those who struggle with them not to fear them and those who 'get' numbers to communicate them helpfully. It is possible to be creative and grasp numbers and this is the task. I feel architects need their intuition training so that they grasp 'the scale of things' enough to interacts creatively with an engineer. The Royal Academy of Engineering has launched a push for 'centres of excellence in sustainable building design'. Championed by Doug King. I agree that the lack of integrated teaching should be regarded as a condition rather than a problem, acknowledged and addressed in practical ways when it comes to the making of buildings. This idea of centres of excellence should be the way forward. finaly if indeed it is ' much easier to push an architect to think in engineering terms than to push an engineer to think in architecture's terms' then the routes must be opened up to allow and encourage flow this way. We all have to work with numbers, but not all to the same depth. I believe we must from the first day on both architecture and engineering courses stress the uniquely interactive nature of building design. Celebrate this as an opportunity for those who love to design. Proactively promote respect between the professions from the moment a student starts and in Shanes words 'allowing for the differently minded to still be challenged to think about both subjects but not holding them back altogether but allowing them to flourish in whatever they are most naturally good at.' CIBSE has often thought of changing its name but I dont think we need to .CIBSE is what CIBSE does is my current motto. I agree nobody knows what we do. When they do then we change the name. If you are interested in the the art and science of the greater comfort of mankind, in the causes of 'delight 'in building design. Join us and debate how we take this forward. If your a student its free just go to www.cibse.org. Join the young engineers make them aware of young architects now. Andy Ford PPCIBSE

Posted date

7 November, 2012

Posted time

4:30 pm