What can structural engineering design learn from history? What lessons can we draw from the successes and failures of previous generations? This questions have gained relevance since the collapse of Morandi Bridge in Genoa. In his essay, Ludolf Krontal discusses how catastrophes like Genoa can be avoided and how future bridges can be designed to be more robust and require less maintenance. We are planning a new series of articles about historical structures and their designers. Cengiz Dicleli leads off with his article about Karl Bernhard’s Stössensee Bridge in Berlin.
Throughout history, structural engineers have always operated in the sphere of interaction between form-finding and form-giving. It shows in the projects chosen for this issue: while the idea of a “kiss” between two half-roofs determined the design of the Coal Drops Yard shopping centre in London as did the spiral circulation area for the Experimenta exhibition building in Heilbronn, maximising functionality and structural efficiency had much more influence on the Sports Hall in Calais and Mactan Airport on the Philippines. Realising these structures was challenging, not least for the earthquake-safe and yet filigree double helix viewing platform in Changsha, which appears on the title page of this issue.