DESIGN EXPERIENCE 1: the role of constraints in the design process

Before joining academia, I worked in two (then) small and creative engineering design consultancies (Jane Wernick Associates, London, UK and Ney and Partners, Brussels, Belgium).  I had the good fortune of designing and building a number of awe-inspiring building and bridges.  You will find my portfolio with some works described in some detail here.

In this series, I will walk you through a number of processes that can help you achieve successful structural designs. In this post, I consider the role of constraints. Indeed some might see constraints as a hindrance to their creativity, but really constraints help you to reduce the design space and challenge you to be more creative. Charles Eames, the midcentury industrial designer, said that

“Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem… the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible … his willingness and enthusiasm for working with these constraints.”

In the following video, I explain how a good understanding of constraints can lead a designer to successful and innovative forms. I talk about constraints in the design  Verviers footbridge, a project by Ney and Partners, and the Ting Kau bridge (page 1, 2 and 3) a project by Schlaich Bergermann and Partners.

You find the paper mentioned in the video below.

You might also enjoy Angus Low, the talented bridge designer, explain how the different constraints impacted the design of the Nescio suspension bridge in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), in this video.

Nescio suspension bridge (image credit Dezeen)





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