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The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer

The Institution of Structural Engineer's new Glass and Facade study group arranged for this essay and lecture. I took the liberty of introducing a number of considerations on the field of Free Form designs. This topic is quite interesting for most audience members. The USA and Europe are world leaders when it comes to many of the trends in architecture, both financially and artistically. The solo crusade of Frank O. Gehry, which has now been joined by designers in Europe, has led to a new way of designing buildings accompanied by a revolutionary new vocabulary: Free Form architecture. Free Form design has been widely published all over the world in the last decade. Experimental prototype designs have been erected. The Venice Architecture Biennale of 2004 was filled with Free Form designs.

Does Free Form architecture have the potential to become a new architectural language, an architectural style even, or are we seeing nothing more than a series of out-of-scale, one-off object designs? How deep will the influence of Free Form design be? Will the challenges inherent in formal experimentation with Free Form design eclipse the 20th century's achievements in Functionalist design? Will Free Form design finally vanquish 80-year-old Functionalist design, which survived the sieges of Post-Modernism and De-Constructivism? What will be the extent of digital design in the lives of the younger generations and how will these young designers express themselves in Free Form buildings? What contribution could the study group produce?

Professor M. Eekhout, BArch, MArch, PhD
Delft University of Technology

The Structural Engineer

On 21 July 1908, the Concrete Institute was formed at a meeting of engineers, architects and others in the Ritz Hotel in London; the Institute later evolved into the Institution of Structural Engineers, which celebrates its Centenary this year. The body has grown from an organisation with 100 members to a body of 22 000 members in more than 100 countries, speaking with authority in the profession of structural engineering.

One of the key objectives of the new Institute was to place, in open record, design rules for the new material, and thus to allow other engineers to apply the new technology. Reinforced concrete had been used for some years before 1908, but it had been controlled by specialist contractors through patents and the retention of experience in-house. In many ways, the development of the professional engineering bodies has mirrored the development of guidelines and codes, the latest of which are the new Eurocodes to be introduced by 2010. These are not just a part of the 'European Project' but have come from a long and continuing process of often contested progress and refinement of engineering practice as well as from political change. The UK has taken a full part in this process.

H. P. J. Taylor, FREng, PhD, CEng, FIStructE, FICE
IStructE Past President, Chair BSI Committee CB/20 Structural Design Codes

C. J. Burgoyne, MA, MSc, PhD, CEng, FIStructE, MICE
Reader in Concrete Structures, University of Cambridge

The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer
The Structural Engineer