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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
It is my opinion that the profession of engineering, civil and structural, today has
become dehumanised by its very own soulscience and technology.
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.