SED 15 (ePDF) Engineering History and Heritage Structures – Viewpoints and Approaches

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Engineering History and Heritage
Structures – Viewpoints and Approaches
The present Structural Engineering Document (SED) is a
compilation of contributions devoted to the vast topic of history
of structural engineering as well as interventions on heritage
structures and structures of high cultural values. Various, sometimes
opposed, viewpoints and approaches are expressed
and presented. The rather heterogeneous and controversial
nature of the content of this SED shall stimulate lively discussions
within the structural engineering community who needs
to increase the awareness of historical and cultural aspects
of structures and structural engineering. Current structural
engineering methods and practice are only at the very beginning
of effective engineering, really integrating historical and
cultural aspects in the assessment of existing structures and
in intervention projects to adapt or modify structures of cultural
values for future demands. Knowing the past is indispensable
for modern structural engineering!

ISBN 978-3-85748-154-3


IABSE WG9 Construction History has the general objective to promote this new science and
to demonstrate its importance for structural engineers. The three main objectives of the WG on
construction history are to:
• increase awareness among structural engineers of historical and cultural aspects of structures
and structural engineering;
• illustrate and propagate the social and technical achievements of civil engineering;
• improve methods and practice in structural engineering by showing ways for systematic
and targeted integration of historical and cultural aspects in intervention projects to adapt
or modify structures of cultural value for future demands.
IABSE WG9 focuses on the role of construction history in the structural engineering practice
and is thus intentionally complementary to the classical construction history as understood by
the ICCH Community. The main concern of WG9 is thus to implement construction history in
the daily work of structural engineers and to demonstrate the importance of cultural values as a
basic design parameter when interventions on existing structures are required.
The present Structural Engineering Document (SED) is structured accordingly. It shall be
understood as an introduction into construction history and how to consider the cultural values
of structures in intervention projects. Although this SED is addressed primarily to IABSE structural
engineers, it may also be useful for non engineers.
This SED begins with the Editorial written by one of the “deans” of construction history: Tom
F. Peters. Personal statements by several WG9 members testify a surprising variety of ways how
the access to construction history was found and how it influenced professional activities. In the
next chapter, Nicolas Janberg provides a worldwide survey on the activities and contacts in the
domain of construction history. In the following, the papers by Max Johann Beiersdorf and Josef
Steiner are contributions similar to essays on the aspects of construction history.
Twenty-five case studies on rehabilitation and modification of structures form the core material
of this SED. Every case study outlines on a maximum of four pages the cultural values of the
structure and highlights the appropriate measures for its respectful preservation. References
and contact data of the author serve the reader to obtain detailed information. The case studies
obviously range from ancient to modern structures and from medium to high cultural values,
comprising various types of structures. Requirements of cultural heritage shall be taken as
inspiration (and no longer as “hindering constraint”) for better intervention projects on existing
structures. Construction history and cultural values of structures have yet to be understood as
basic structural engineering disciplines.
With the present SED, the IABSE WG Construction History intends to make a significant contribution
to modern structural engineering and to provide access to construction history for
practicing structural engineers.