Return of the master architect

Author: Steve Burrows

Date published

2 January 2020

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Members/Subscribers: Free

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Return of the master architect

The Structural Engineer
Return of the master architect
Date published

2 January 2020

Author

Steve Burrows

Price

Standard: £9 + VAT
Members/Subscribers: Free

Buy Now
Author

Steve Burrows

Long before architecture became a profession, the ‘architect’ was the ‘chief carpenter’, from the Greek word architekton. Architecture as a profession was formalised in the UK in 1834 and the USA in 1857.

Prior to that, architects and engineers were pretty much as one, a great example being Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, often cited as the first architect but just as often referred to as the Chief Engineer of the Roman Empire. Vitruvius described the need for architecture to be well built (firmitas), useful in its purpose (utilitas) and beautiful to look at (venustas) – sentiments I think we can all align with today.

In my opinion, the Great Pyramid, which I have been fortunate to study for TV shows, represents the birth of modern architecture. I refer to ‘modern architecture’ as the Great Pyramid is the epitome of a complex three-dimensional design conceived and created using method-led off-site manufacturing and construction techniques – to the extent that even 4500 years later we cannot determine how Hemiunu, its engineer/architect, actually did it.

Fast forward to 2014, which is the year Frank Gehry said, ‘Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98% of what gets built and designed today is pure s**t’. Whether you agree with this vulgarity or not, the construction industry needs a shake-up and that shake-up has now arrived. It’s called PropTech or ConTech.

ConTech refers to the digital transformation of the construction industry. With that transformation, two tectonic shifts are about to occur:

  • It will become the greatest time in history to be an engineer (that’s an article for another day).
  • The master architect will return to rival the feats of Hemiunu and Vitruvius.

Additional information

Format:
PDF
Pages:
3
Publisher:
The Institution of Structural Engineers

Tags

Research & Innovation Quality Digital Issue 1

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