The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 75 (1997) > Issues > Issue 12 > Research and Development in Structural Engineering - Who Needs it?
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Research and Development in Structural Engineering - Who Needs it?

The development of structural engineering can be traced back about 10 000 years when man became a farmer and needed shelter for himself and his harvests. Building remained a craft-based activity, and rules-of-thumb guided construction for many centuries. Progress was by no means continuous. Quite often, owing to lack of continuity, the skills were lost for generations and they were learnt again over a long period of time. For many centuries structural engineering developed through ‘intuitive understanding’ of how structures worked. A good example is the construction of Salisbury Cathedral (Fig l), which began in 1220 and was completed over the next few decades. The sizes of stones and the proportioning of the various components of the building were entirely based on ‘intuitive understanding’ and experience handed down through generations. N.K. Subedi