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Issue 6.2

Engineering Architecture

It seems odd or at least disconcerting that until French engineer and physicist Charles-Augustin Coulomb imparted to the western world a shear stress equation in the late eighteenth century, there was little in statics other than Galileo’s equations for tensile strength to engineer structures.1 Of course, Galileo’s equations only applied to stone and wood: not a specific wood, just wood.2 The introduction in the nineteenth century of empirical research on the specificity of the strengths of different wood fibers, steel, and finally concrete emerges together with the introduction of these materials in large-scale architectures. This suggests some connective tissue or, at the very least, a dialectical relationship between form and matter that persists as theory and application in the business of building things. Engineering architecture can be read as a verb and a subject.

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