The Nature Of Engineering: Part 1
Ted Happold (Buro Happold)


Ted Happold

©Monica Pidgeon

I suppose that the nature of our discipline is probably defined by all the people who are credited with founding it. One is John Smeaton, the Yorkshire instrument-maker who was deeply interested in studying natural phenomena, and evolving sets of rules which should enable him to design more efficient machines which would enable him to predict their behaviour. And he was the first person of course to call himself a consulting engineer, certainly the first person to call himself professional, the way we use the term nowadays. And the other person largely credited with founding our profession was Brindley, a more pragmatic man, the man who was responsible for the first major canal in this country, the Bridgewater Canal.


Puddling Clay

©Buro Happold

And Brindley was the man who popularised the use of puddle clay to seal the bottom of canals. It was work of Brindley that enabled Capability Brown to build those large lakes, do those garden designs which made him so famous. The study of history of course does affect the way engineers work just as it does of architects.

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