Architects versus Engineers…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s smell is that of a nicely warmed up pouch laminator. (PL)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In my younger years I nearly drifted into engineering, the civil kind, but then I suddenly decided that the ‘artist’s life’ would suit me better; slapping paint around and sitting in cafes pondering on the nature of art and humanity would be preferable to designing a lot of motorway bridges; so I do have a smattering of the physics of structures and how materials behave under stress. Do you have a smattering dear reader? Smatterings are good…
Anyway, where is all this leading?
The bus route from town goes past a crumbling closed down nightclub. Before the building was a nightclub I think it used to be a Jewish synagogue, but when it was ‘restyled’ as the club in the 1990s someone decided that a row of trendy steel masts/flagpoles would be nice attached to the side wall of the building. I was looking at these masts/flagpoles last week as the bus waited at the traffic lights, and I smiled… The smile was an engineer’s smile…
The person (an architect?) responsible for the design of the masts had included a section of triangular latticework formed from steel tubing – that sort of decorative feature (along with stick-on fake columns and finials) was very popular back then. Here’s a photo of three of the masts:

DSCN4096‘So Dave…’ I hear you ask, ‘what was it that made you smile?’
Well, you’ll see that each mast is in three sections: a flat plate at the bottom to fasten the thing to the wall, above that the triangular lattice, and then the flagpole at the top – not very elegant is it? But wait, there’s more! The designer, having decided that the fastening to the wall (using plenty of bolts) would be through the plate at the bottom, didn’t think that, should there be a bit of wind, the pole would wave about a bit, as flagpoles do – the lattice section would be absolutely stiff and solid (that’s what lattices are good at), but the flat plate above the bolts would flex and bend quite easily, especially with the weight of the lattice on top of it. I smiled…
I smiled again when I noticed the bits of steel they later attached to try to stop the thing waving about in the breeze. They tried some thin white-painted rods attached to the top of the wall, which wouldn’t have done any good at all, and then some thicker black ones that they had to attach to another wall some distance behind – these obviously worked…
I imagine the ‘architect’ sitting at his/her computer looking at his/her design thinking, Oh these masts looks really cool!… Fixing them to the wall will be easy – We’ll have lots of bolts on the bottom plates to fasten them… Oh, I can’t wait to see them all with their flags fluttering merrily in the breeze…

 

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in architecture, art, brain, cool, design, Dulltown, fashion, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, learning, observations, physics, seeing, smiling, style, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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