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Early design of reinforced concrete buildings took little account of the structural possibilities peculiar to the material, and it was treated much like steel or masonry, formed into either frames or loadbearing cross-walls. The Arup/Tecton designs for flats broke away from this approach and treated the external wall as part of the structure, so eliminating many columns and beams and facilitating a greater freedom in planning, while, at the same time, achieving economies in construction. However, it seems that architects more used to planning on regular grids took little advantage of this freedom. Later, postwar designs by Tecton used Amp’s ‘box-frame’ structure where internal walls, still not on a regular grid, were loadbearing and where the corresponding elevated treatment was an expression of the absence of structure in the external walls. D.T. Yeomans and D. Cottam
In my earliest training in engineering I learnt the physical laws of balance and later studied the phenomena of structural and aerodynamic instabilities in their various forms. As a result, I became confident that engineers were reasonably well equipped to make rational design decisions such as to avoid failures due to predictable loss of equilibrium. In contrast, I have found it to be paradoxical that there are frequently no comparable rational bases from which to determine the correct balance in many non-physical matters of concern to the profession. As a Libran, and in looking back over my working life, it occurred to me that this might be a golden opportunity to ruminate on some of the imponderables which I have encountered. A.R. Flint
Design for wind loading The most recent contribution to this extended discussion was in our issue of 20 December, when Mr Haseltine was still disposed to challenge the view that had been expressed by John Mayne of the Building Research Establishment (21 June 1988) that the wind pressures in the 1972 Code had a sounder basis than correspondents were ascribing to them. In this controversial issue we are pleased to have received, from Mr A. P. Robertson of the AFRC Institute of Engineering Research, an account of some results from measurements of wind pressures on full- scale low-rise buildings at its station at Silsoe. Verulam