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Re: Structural Engineering as Art

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You missed Milo's point.  He was not referring to production 
drafting.  Milo was emphasizing the value of 'thinking with your 
fingers'.  He suggested that engineers learn "freehand drawing" and 
"art" to strengthen their conceptual powers.

Although I've been using CAD for production since 1985, I couldn't 
agree more with Milo.  It is essential that we take time to conceive 
ideas before we produce contract documents.  When you consider the 
work of Calatrava, Roebling, Ketchum, and other structural "artists" 
you quickly find that conceptual musings are more important than 
document production.  Don't waste time on every minute detail until 
you have a concept that works!  You can begin production drafting 
once you have a concept.

The fact is that nearly all art is still executed manually because 
this affords the artist the ability to interact directly with the 
medium.  Production drafting is best done with computers and (like 
you) I prefer to "write" using a keyboard, but hand methods will 
always be the fastest way to sketch ideas.  [American Heritage 
Dictionary, sketch: a hasty or undetailed drawing or painting made as 
a preliminary study.]

You wrote:
I believe that this concept is rapidly becoming archaic and properly
so. As we strive to achieve the most economical design AND accept work
that presents far more complex architectural problems we need to use
our minds to derive more creative structural solutions and spend less
time representing those solutions on paper.
When I said that the concept of manual drafting is becoming archaic, I
should have said that the need to represent our creative thought
remains constant but the instrument to carry this through has changed.
I can appreciate that the majority of engineers still rely upon manual
drafting as a way to sketch a solution. I'm one of those few who can
not really do this well by manual methods.
With cad, we can workout these minute details at the same time and
produce a more viable solution OR see where the flaws of our ideas

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Michael Valley                                   E-mail: mtv(--nospam--at)
Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire Inc.                  Tel:(206)292-1200
1301 Fifth Ave, #3200,  Seattle  WA 98101-2699          Fax:        -1201