The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 5 (1927) > Issues > Issue 4 > Experiments and Transformations. Chapter IV
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Experiments and Transformations. Chapter IV

No building material nor method of construction should ever be allowed to dictate the forms of building. Such a statement may sound arbitrary, but yet a far greater arbitrariness results as soon as engineers or others would make architecture the servant of construction. The proper effects of construction on architecture are purely negative. The dogma that what you cannot construct you must not construct is supererogatory. But the reverse of the proposition, the statement that methods of construction which can be used must be used is more seriously at fault, for in the form in which the admonition is framed it is a direct incitement to architectural malpractices. An analogy from social life may here help us to envisage the true relationship between architecture and construction. A man can perform innumerable physical actions which he is not permitted to perform on all occasions. Yet the significance of the human figure, the range of its possible actions would be unduly restricted if men were forbidden to set themselves physical tasks which strain the capacity of their limbs to the very utmost. Because men can jump and perform other acrobatic exercises it is desirable that they should do so under certain prescribed conditions. These conditions are determined by a reference to the dominant characteristics of human nature in general, and the art of jumping is only encouraged among certain individuals at certain places and on certain occasions. The dignity of the human figure would not find expression if it were decreed that all men, willy nilly, must jump. Similarly, the dignity which is appropriate to ferro-concrete would not be manifested if this material were on all occasions to perform such acrobatic feats as are within its power. A. Trystan Edwards

Author(s): Edwards, A Trystan

Keywords: aesthetics;reinforced concrete;industrial buildings