Why civil engineering students should make things

In today’s Member Voices article, my co-instructor and visual artist, Joe Scanlan and I discuss the value of haptic learning for civil engineering students; why learning and working with their hands makes them better civil engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineer’s Future World Vision calls for creative and motivated students to be attracted to the civil engineering profession so that they can bring novel … Continue reading Why civil engineering students should make things

Lace rod networks at the intersection of engineering and art

How can art inspire engineering systems? We have been working with bobbin lace and textile artists to find out. Our work is exhibited at the 2021 Joint Mathematics Meetings. Interlaced bigons from Lauren Dreier on Vimeo. Inspired by a traditional bobbin lace pattern, ‘torchon ground’, elastic strips are interlaced to create a gradient of out-of-plane behavior. The key structural element is a bigon which consists … Continue reading Lace rod networks at the intersection of engineering and art

(On-Line) public speaking

Over the years, the research and teaching at the Form Finding Lab, has been disseminated through a wide range of video and audio material.  I have collected some of it here. TEACHING: What engineering and art students learned in my course co-taught with the artist Joe Scanlan, CEE418/VIS418 Extraordinary Processes ‘Princeton students make their bed’, 2020. RESEARCH: We reached over 6000 participants in our DigitalFUTURES … Continue reading (On-Line) public speaking

What I am thinking: structural designer and poet Jun Sato

Jun Sato is Associate Professor at University of Tokyo / Visiting Professor at Stanford University / Chief Executive Engineer at Jun Sato Structural Engineers Co., Ltd.. He has developed transparent, lightweight and ductile structures with geometries of naturalness through his collaborations with architects such as Kengo Kuma, Riken Yamamoto, Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto and Junya Ishigami, and through workshops with students. He worked at Toshihiko … Continue reading What I am thinking: structural designer and poet Jun Sato

DESIGN EXPERIENCE 5: Advancing the design: drawing as a communication

Architect Michael Graves, a former Princeton faculty member, retells the story of how he started to draw design to pass time at a boring faculty meeting. When he got stuck, a colleague silently drew in a few lines. They passed the drawing back and forth several times. This was a dialogue without words, using instead the language of drawing. Previously, we have seen how we … Continue reading DESIGN EXPERIENCE 5: Advancing the design: drawing as a communication

DESIGN EXPERIENCE 4: Iterative Design Process – A Reflective Conversation

The beauty of design is that there is rarely one correct solution. As we make drawings, we generate several alternatives. From there we revise and eliminate alternatives until we arrive at our final design. The design decisions that we make along the way are countless and ultimately determine the quality of the final design. A good design not only uses constraints but also other parameters, … Continue reading DESIGN EXPERIENCE 4: Iterative Design Process – A Reflective Conversation

DESIGN EXPERIENCE 3: Precedents and inspiration

Design has the a reputation of being associated with wild creativity. Yet engineering design must involve a harnessed use of that creativity. Imagine how inefficient it would be if every bridge designer in the world started designing his/her first bridge without prior study of an existing bridge. Engineering design has the beautiful advantage of a starting point: precedents. “I have a feeling that good design, … Continue reading DESIGN EXPERIENCE 3: Precedents and inspiration

Engineering, Beauty and a Longing for the Infinite

This article originally appeared in Scientific American on October 22, 2019 and was written by Margarita A. Mooney.  I do not have copyright to this article so I strongly encourage you to click on the link and read it in its original version.  It describes so well the value of the 2019 summer course we taught and bringing engineering and beauty together.  Thank you Margarita … Continue reading Engineering, Beauty and a Longing for the Infinite

What I am thinking: historian and structural engineer Tyler Sprague

Tyler S. Sprague teaches courses in structural design & architectural history at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.  He holds engineering degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Washington (UW) and worked professionally as a structural engineer before completing a Ph.D. in architectural history in the College of Built Environments at the UW. Sprague’s research investigates the intersection of architecture … Continue reading What I am thinking: historian and structural engineer Tyler Sprague