Chapter 1 of 24
Study For Bridge
My attitude towards engineering, my feeling towards engineering has developed from a set of influences, and probably the greatest influences I have are a man I worked with when I worked at Buro Happold, a man called Ian Liddell who was an engineer who had an understanding, a feeling for structures. Prior to that I'd seen engineering as an analytical process. He, over a period of five years working with him, had managed to show me that engineering is about feeling and intuition for structures. Now, whenever I think of structure, any engineering structure, I have to almost be the structure. And if I can't do that, and if I can't understand and feel the structure, then I don't attempt to do it. I go away and either re-think it or go away and come back to it later, until the point at which I can understand it.
I did some lecturing at the Gulbenkian Institute at the Met. There I met a sculptor called Jamie McCullough. He was an Eton boy and he had been invited by a tutor at Eton to build a bridge as a sculptor basically, and he's had a fascination with Newton's bridge at Cambridge and he asked if we could engineer it with him. We talked about the idea of Newton's bridge and the idea of translating that into a 3D form. And I had had a lot of experience, through light-weight structures and tension structures, of 3D surfaces.