Architecture’s limits define its norms. In Steps to an Ecology of the Mind, Gregory Bateson refers to “restraints” as the “causal circuits or processes within a system that guide the formal outcome in probabilistic terms.”1 Broadly understood, the scope of any discipline is thus subject to the restraints of the instruments and abstract models through which it exercises control and construct subjectivities. Who or what has authority over the instruments of architecture? What methods do architects employ to exploit the institutional protocols that govern the administration of standards and conventions? In what ways do they redefine “new” limits of architectural practice? In this sense, is there a universal canon of architectural expertise, or is it continuously created, and subsequently negated, in the process?
Rather than adopt an antagonistic position and reject limits, or escape to an imaginary periphery by reframing what constitutes the core (or corps?) of practice, this essay examines the role of architecture and engineering publications, such as reference manuals, in structuring “disciplinary formations” of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.2 Such publications promoted a reciprocity between theory and practice. They provided a framework through which the outcomes of research and experimentation could be regulated and disseminated.
What constituted expertise during this time was in a state of flux, until governmental bodies established professional scope and liability based on rule-of-law at the close of the nineteenth century; architects designed structures and assumed responsibility without an engineer’s counsel, engineers designed buildings without a connoisseur’s classical architectural training and builders built without approval from either.3 This polyvalent intertwining of disciplines in the throes of becoming modern was productive—as it fostered a “scientification of building knowledge” and standardized existing experiential knowledge into verifiable best-practices.4 In this regard, manuals were the instruments through which architecture and engineering established the standards, protocols and norms of contemporary practice.
Michel Foucault’s concept of “governmentality,” developed in lectures at the Collège de France, examines the influence of institutions and governments through the aggregation and administration of knowledge during this same time period. “The conduct of conduct” was promoted through the instruments of rule;5 governmentality aimed to “improve” life under its influence by enacting and maintaining conventions related to commerce, industry, healthcare, banking and the amelioration of risk through collectively respected standards.6
While governance may embody any number of forms, Foucault focused on conditions that engage and produce subjectivities. The instrumental use of manuals by architects and engineers, too, provided a strategy for the projection of expertise, and the mitigation of the risks and liabilities associated with practice. They negotiated between the responsibility of authorship and collective anonymity—one no longer attributable to anyone because of its adoption by everyone.7
The expert-systems that constitute contemporary instruments of service—along with the methods and traditions through which design research is administered and transferred into the realm of convention—originated within this framework.8 Though the term “expert-system” originates from within twentieth century computer science disciplines, the underlying premise is that of a mechanism that collects, codifies and standardizes information through a system of abstraction, with the intent of inferring answers to queries. Whether by auto-correcting spelling errors or making structural recommendations based on best-practices, the correspondence between expertise and instrument is founded on the reciprocal calibration of knowledge with instrumental subjectivities.
In examining the correspondence between instruments and the management of unknown risks, we must consider how architectural instruments “administer nature.”9 Within the applied sciences during the Industrial Revolution, the idea of nature connoted invisible forces of gravity and thermodynamics as the subject of experimentation. For architects and engineers, the transmogrification of nature—from a project on romantic iconography to one that could be practiced in instrumental terms—was furthered by the proliferation of encyclopedias, dictionaries and reference manuals. Manuals lowered the educational and professional barrier to specialized knowledge, and gave practitioners models for anticipating uncertainty— instruments for managing the indeterminacy of multiple natures, both mechanical and economic.10
Instruments differ from tools in that they are “calibrated” to meet agreed-upon standards. They gain coherence and agency through objectivity and precision.10 For example, prior to the adoption of the metric system by the post-revolution French Commissions—physically manifested in objects such as the Mètre des Archives in 1799—units of measure were either regionally specific, as in the case of official “reference” bushels, or anthropomorphic, utilizing the proportions and approximate measurements of the human body.11 While engineers and architects could tame the rules of geometry to represent an ideal and perfected model, the artisanal nature of construction created a pervasive negotiation between the ideal and the real—imbuing the processes of design and building with an unknown degree of risk. This persistent “collective empiricism” of experience over the predictions of theory thus problematized the fidelity of information exchanged between model and reality.12
As an administered value, then, precision is dependent on an institutional framework to enforce it—something possible only through collective accord, such as a universal reference measure. In this sense, it is impossible to characterize a stand-alone tool or object as an instrument, or as instrumental, without considering the administrative mechanism through which it is legitimized and maintained, and its relative precision regulated.
Foucault described the evolution of encyclopedias during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a precursor to the emergence of governmentality. Perhaps the best known example, the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751-1759), edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, emerged as the result of the contemporary cultivation of standard drawing formats: a graphic lexicon of objectivity. The Encyclopédie assembled knowledge by applying a common visual abstraction, or representational modality, to everything it covered.13 Capturing an object or process through drawing was reciprocal to knowing it in an instrumental and precise way. This method provided an epistemological framework whose quantifying gaze could transform observations into abstract models, and enable the reproduction, replication and representation of the natural world.14 Thus every subject the Encyclopédie captured and described became a “working object,” or a “manageable, communal representative of the sector of nature under investigation.”15 This process of transforming the subjective affects of the real into working objects through representation was a collective project reinforced by its eventual adoption.16
Drawings within the Encyclopédie were ideal, or generalized, versions of their subjects—with few exceptions, every drawing was precisely drafted, described and measured in reference to a graphic scale or a drawing of a human figure. Illustrations were conceived of not as discrete instances of objects or processes, but as models of approximate prototypes, asserting the possibility of limitless reproduction, despite their subjective inescapably subjective nature.17 This form of objectivity was contingent on maintaining a consistent and observational point-of-view located between the Encyclopédie and its subject. These intrinsically taxonomic drawings not only systematized knowledge, but also imparted rudimentary instruction, thorough illustrations of the tools and objects of particular crafts and technologies, and diagrams describing necessary processes and techniques. The latter were often informed and synthesized by the representational modalities—for example, the scientific illustrations of geology and botany, or the more familiar sectional and planimetric drawings associated with military fortifications, bridges and other infrastructural projects designed by civil engineers—of newly formed disciplines that understood the natural world through a constructed objectivity.18
Diderot leveraged the Encyclopédie’s emphasis on technology and the mechanical arts as a means to “change the way people think” and ultimately improve the daily lives and work of tradespeople.19 This act of outreach was realized in part by its adoption in “public” drawing schools, as an instrument for training skilled workers.20 Drawing schools were founded throughout western and central Europe during the eighteenth century, often by way of a public-private partnership between cities and regional manufacturers, for the explicit purpose of “intellectualizing handiwork” and “cultivating reflection, taste and ingenuity” in the crafts and construction industries.20 Using the Encyclopédie as a graphic standard, these institutions established the conventions for a generalized representation of nature that influenced scientific, architectural and engineering representation for more than a century.21
Through this use as a pedagogical instrument, the Encyclopédie established a reciprocal mimetic tradition in which general knowledge often controlled by trade guilds was transformed into expert knowledge regulated by state-run institutions. Through a universal system of representation—the collective authoring of working objects—norms and standards were reflexively adopted, and transformed the very trades and disciplines that served as their original subjects. The processes of the latter echoed the desires of the Encyclopédie’s authors to simultaneously instill within craftsmen a “discipline, technique, and self-conscious systematic way of working” and provide the outcome of this effort in clearly delineated and understandable terms to tradespeople and the public at large.22 This is reminiscent of Bateson’s original provocation concerning the relationship between restraints and causal processes. The Encyclopédie produced a simultaneously retroactive and didactic calibration of knowledge—forming an incipient epistemological framework that could allowed for the production, reproduction and exchange of information between disciplines and institutions.
Thus, drawings, now conceived as working objects, became instrumental. This objective, graphic lexicon cast a pall across every procedure and element related to building, that effectively served to demarcate the responsibilities and obligations of practice.22 Professional publications that followed adopted many of the underlying principles of these encyclopedias; the scientification and generalization of observed information, objects and processes through an objectivist graphic convention became a means to standardize the “unsecured experiential” knowledge of building trades.23
SCIENTIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGE
In the years surrounding the Encyclopédie’s adoption by public drawing schools, similar institutions enforcing common disciplinary standards also emerged.24 From the “Polytechnics,” such as the German Bauakademie and French Ècole Polytechnique, to the Mechanics Institutes in England, the publication of lecture notes and textbooks became common practice—a critical strategy for disseminating standards and theories to practitioners.25 They prepared the ground for a boom in the publication of professional journals, reference manuals and textbooks at the cusp of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The application of practical theory as rationalized construction technique distinguished these manuals from the tradesmen’s books that preceded them.26 In this new context, manuals were a practical necessity. The introduction of new materials, methods of construction and techniques of manufacture—in addition to the demand for progressively more ambitious building and complex infrastructural projects—were a practical strain on the workaday practice of architects and engineers, both in terms of hours and potential liabilities.28 They were a system among systems that projected and reinforced institutional biases, whether anticipatory, observational or analytical; a system that the Scottish engineer and physicist William John Macquorn Rankine described as consisting of “intermediate knowledge,” embodying the “application of scientific principles to practical purposes” and representing the intrinsic “harmony of theory and practice.”29
Manuals charted a transition from observation to analysis. They shifted away from a pre-theoretical, or “overlay” mode of thinking—which guided the design of new structures based on rules-of-thumb—and towards “model thinking,” which had its basis in calculation.30 Overlay thinking is evident in the “evolutionary model” emphasized by the French architect Jean Rondelet in his Traite theorique et pratique de l’art de batir of 1812-1817, and is consistent with the practice of innovation through “transfer”—a retroactive projection of knowledge from one system onto another.31 Adoption of new materials and new construction methods that deviate from convention was thus buffered by precedent, which provided a reasonable measure of prediction. This is evident in cases where cast iron was first introduced in building construction—when its use mimicked timber structures—as in the case of the iron columns used by the architect George Steuart to support the upper-gallery of St. Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury, England.32 In defense of Rondelet, the Traite theorique et pratique de l’art de batir performed its own radical detouring. It took advantage of the well-established accessibility of the encyclopedia by conflating its graphic conventions with some examples of analytical models—the classic wolf in sheep’s clothing tactic.
While overlay methods yielded a studied explanation of the structural performance of existing structures, they did not offer the kind of projective knowledge typically associated with expert-systems. Critical to the transition towards model thinking were the robust, time-saving analytical methods based on the invention of descriptive geometry by the French mathematician Gaspard Monge. Invented while Monge was in the service of the French military engineering corps, the techniques were considered a state secret. Only after Monge began teaching at the École Polytechnique in 1794 did it enter into the public sphere, published first as a transcription of his lectures in Géométrie descriptive. Leçons données aux écoles normales in 1799 and then further expanded in Application de l’analyse à la géométrie in 1807. The inclusion of elements from Géométrie descriptive in other manuals, Rondelet’s Traite, for example, underscores its significance in transforming graphical modes of structural analysis. Handbuch der Mechanik, published in by Franz Joseph von Gerstner in 1832, also combined graphic analysis with differential and integral calculus; and Carl Cullman’s Die Graphische Statik of 1865 further refined the graphic method of static structural analysis—radically reducing the labor involved in calculating structural loads and lowering the professional barrier for those without advanced schooling in mathematics. 33
[Fig_19: Reciprocal Force Planes of various structural forms from Die Graphische Statik (Zürich: Meyer & Zeller A. Reimann,1875).
Architecture and engineering manuals reflected many of the same ideological principals that buoyed the socially transformative cause of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, and reflected the “ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, reflections, calculations and tactics” at work in Foucault’s governmentality. Under the umbrella of governmental rubrics, the instruments available to architects and engineers became sublimated within the space of practice, and grew to define the limits of the profession vis-a-vis the organizational constraints of expert-systems.
MARKETIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE
The inevitable economic concerns of practice were also altered by the rise of governmentality. The analysis and preparation of drawings by architects and engineers would be governed by a familiar negotiation between value and efficiency—typically applied to the design of the structures themselves—in the terms of the monetization of labor, and in the form of the billable hour. Similarly, projective cost estimation allowed for the “economic re-valuation of work,” comprising yet another precisely calculated project metric.33 This convergence of liabilities, whether in the form of structural and material failure, construction budgets or labor costs associated with practice, became progressively interrelated. They were defined as tangible and finite within the confines of actuarial tables used by financial institutions, developers and eventually corporations. In this regard, the expert-system-as-manual turned its focus inward and onto the needs of the profession as it transformed into an organizational discipline rooted in the space and culture of the office. The content of manuals embodied this ethos, seeking out potential efficiencies within the labors of practice, identifying new areas of desired competence and omitting those that were superseded.
Der Ingenieur, Sammlung von Tafeln, Formeln und Regeln der Arithmetik, Geometrie und Mechanik was published in 1848 as a distillation of the epic three-volume reference first released in 1845, entitled Lehrbuch der Ingenieur und Maschinen-Mechanik. In the forward to Der Ingenieur, the German mathematician and engineer Julius Weisbach describes it as “a work intended for the instruction and guidance of practical men.” It is not a particularly attractive book.34 The contents are by most standards quite dense. There were no plates to rival those in the Traite theorique et pratique de l’art de batir or Encyclopédie. Instead, Weisbach assembled state-of-the-art knowledge in applied engineering, much of which took the form of charts, span tables and nomograms, or two-dimensional graphic “charts” used to easily calculate complex mathematical functions (Willis Carrier’s psychrometric chart is a well-known example).35 These instruments dramatically reduced the amount of time engineers and occasionally architects would otherwise spend on making observations, or calculating and testing potential solutions. Requiring minimal training to use in practice, they enable the application of precision without empirical, expert knowledge.
The underlying intentions of Der Ingenieur were accessibility and efficiency—“structured and prepared in a way that [one] could use for their daily business”—without the need to deduce or prove any underlying principles.36 Manuals articulated a collectively held definition of precision, accuracy, safety and risk. Conversely, too, they reinforced standards and conventions in a way that required perpetual revision to maintain coherence and applicability—an approach that could place the “new” in a potentially antagonistic relationship to existing institutions that prioritize disciplinary legacies.
Der Ingenieur serves as a significant benchmark in the foundation of the genre of engineering manuals, and was followed by other notable publications, such as William Rankine’s Useful Rules and Tables in 1866 and John Trautwine’s Civil Engineers Pocket-Book in 1872-1911.36 The latter was published by John Wiley & Sons (called William Halsted Wiley prior to 1875), and its popularity as the “engineer’s Bible” led to the publication of seventeen editions by 1894. It also contributed to the success of Wiley, which has applied a similar pocket-book reference strategy to architectural graphic conventions and best-practices in the Architectural Graphic Standards since 1934. Similarly, the history of the McGraw-Hill book company is tied to its acquisition of a number of trade journals and technical publications. It represents the gradual privatization of knowledge-making that was symptomatic of the emergence of a modern publishing industry in the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries.
Publishing houses, and not discipline-specific institutions, became important arbiters of architectural standards and conventions, one whose interests alternately converged and diverged with practice. Earlier manuals emerged from the broad scientification of knowledge attributed with the enlightenment , and thus served as pivots for governmental transformation and the establishment of disciplines. Despite their seeming utility, mass market handbooks were by definition more concerned with market share and profitability. Thus authority for administering and maintaining instruments of service became entangled with economics of media and publishing, and not immediately implicated in design, building or construction.
What potential strategies might encyclopedias and manuals suggest to the contemporary praxis of design research? Manuals are one of an ensemble of instruments in the discipline that assemble and imagine categories of knowledge by organizing, curating and indexing precedents. In this way, they provide a mechanism to identify new best-practices. How can architects and engineers reposition the core of the discipline and chart new limits by leveraging these instruments for the administration of knowledge? Is there an activist model of practice that can operate from within the established protocols of the manual?
From relatively recent history, Cedric Price and Frank Newby’s 1971 publication Air Structures: A Survey exemplifies the production of a more projective manual of instrumental drawings—one that collected standards to assert the material and structural credibility of a speculative project. It is a counter-manual whose strategy was to ameliorate “the lack of co-operation and co-ordination within the industry and research and development establishments [they felt] was detrimental to the development of air structures.”37 While the interest in pneumatic and inflatable structures during the 1960s and 1970s is well documented, the literal documentation of successful applications and construction techniques was sporadic and haphazard. At the time —around 1966— there was no domestic pneumatic building industry or association with an eye toward championing the adoption of novel construction techniques that could test best practices or publish guidelines.38 Projects utilizing pneumatics were realized in wildly different contexts ranging from military and corporate laboratories to discos and artists installations—the same kind of heuristic diaspora that confronted the authors of nineteenth-century manuals.39
Air Structures synthesizes the trajectory of early manuals such as Rondelet’s Traite theorique et pratique de l’art de batir, which emphasized the rationalization of construction, with later engineering-specific manuals characterized by Weisbach’s Der Ingenieur, which embraced abstract analytical and calculation-based models. The combined sum is a generalized survey, an aggregation of existing technical references in the service of producing comprehensive knowledge. Unlike the latter examples, however, which were more concerned with the regulation and innovation of existing methods, Air Structures serves as an example of a retroactive mode of design research—one that instrumentalized a collection of precedents to form a novel construction methodology. In eight chapters, it addresses the theoretical structural principles, design methods, specifications and cost-analysis of various pneumatic assemblies. Probability based on similarity is the underlying concept, as the outcomes of disparate design research by a panoply of architects, engineers and scientists are indexed into a distinct and coherent body of knowledge. The publication bolsters the idea that disciplinary expertise is fluid, and reminds us that shifts in what constitutes core expertise are contingent on the very instruments that establish reference standards, norms and conventions.
What began at the start of the eighteenth century as a polyvalent condition between architecture and engineering became progressively interiorized and balkanized, as disciplinary communities became increasingly anxious about asserting professional and intellectual boundaries. In this context, the role of prototypical expert-systems such as reference manuals was to provide evidence—as an effective synthesis of heuristics and theory—that reinforced and documented practitioners’ scope of expertise. As the transition from encyclopedic objectivity to the analytical overlay of Rondelet or Viollet-le-Duc shows, architecture and engineering adopted a role of standardizing and regulating a commonwealth of experiential knowledge. If the selection of any particular approach to representation or the favoring of certain construction methods yields a distinct subjectivity, for architects and engineers, this subjectivity is primarily organizational. The conduct of practice is regulated by a network of economies and disciplines dependent on evidence and precedent, as well as the reciprocal actions of adjacent institutions — banking and finance, for example.
To return to the question of who or what has authority over the instruments of architecture, we inevitably contend with the limits and tactics of architectural agency. As manuals shift from a mode of instruction based on experiential knowledge to the production of abstract, model-based expert-systems—ones invested with the intelligence of theory and projective analysis—what emerges is a role of the instrument that is interchangeable with and indistinguishable from practice itself. This condition of interiority or restraint is not impenetrable. Price and Newby’s counter-manual, Air Structures, reminds us that the manual can construct new territories of knowledge and spaces of practice; it inverts the conduct of knowledge from theory to practice ascribed to its predecessors. More precisely, Air Structures is a realization of the manual as a project, which invents precedents and authors its own standards. In this way, it is a demonstration of architectural production that is committed to introducing new norms into practice, or that actively asserts the authority to administer the instruments of practice, and thus service.
If anything, the cautionary tale of encyclopedias and manuals stems from the conditions they sought to ameliorate—the unsecured experiential knowledge of craftsmen, the emphasis on design connoisseurship and judgment, and the tendency of building techniques to fall out of use. The latter is particularly daunting for contemporary practice, as it underscores the necessity of institutional commitment to preserving and disseminating building research and theory in perpetuity. In fact, the adoption of innovative techniques and materials has historically corresponded with its standardization, rather than any breakthrough or one-off project. The work of the English architect and engineer Christopher Wren, and in particular the use of iron catenary chains in the reinforcing structure of the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral in London, built from 1675-1711, provide an example of innovation that falters in the absence of institutional administration. Wren had made use of a new theory of statics developed by Robert Hooke in calculating structural loads, and the project marked the “first time that a design methodology based on statics was used for a major new structure.”40 Yet despite Wren’s and Hooke’s exceptional abilities, their advancements never had the potential to influence daily practice because there was not an explicit effort to transform this unique precedent into a generalized application through the publication of a manual of instrumental drawings.41 After all, how could design research contribute to the discipline without any reciprocal development in the conditions under which these theories were administered, generalized and applied as instruments in service?
- 1. Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972). ^
- 2. Karl-Eugen Kurrer, The History of the Theory of Structures: From Arch Analysis to Computational Mechanics (Berlin: Ernst and Sohn, 2008) Outlines the three phases of the development of theory of structures beginning with the Constitution phase (1825-50), the Establishment phase (1850-75) and the Classical phase (1875-1900). These stages correspond to the establishment of a discrete “system of structural mechanics knowledge” and the evolution of the associated theories as the profession of structural engineering became progressively self-identifiable. ^
- 3. Ibid. ^
- 4. Tosten Meyer, Knut Stegmann, Christoph Rauhut, “Handbooks, Textbooks, Manuals: Re-Reading Classical Sources of the ‘Scientification’ of Building Knowledge” pg. 293. ^
- 5. Michel Foucault, Lectures at the Collège de France, “The Birth of Biopolitics” (1978–1979) and “On The Government Of The Living” (1979–1980) (New York,NY: Picador Books, 2010). ^
- 6. Aggregate, the Architectural History Collaborative, Governing by Design: Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the Twentieth Century ed. by Daniel M. Abramson, Arindem Dutta, Timothy Hyde, and Jonathan Massey(Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012). ^
- 7. Timothy Hyde “Signed, Anonymous,” paper presented at Under The Influence, MIT Department of Architecture, February 2013. ^
- 8. A.M. Turing, “Can a Machine Think? Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, in Computers and Thought ed. Edward A. Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,1995). ^
- 9. Theodore M. Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) Porter discusses the philosophy of the British scientist, Karl Pearson, whose work was focused on the application of statistical methods in the sciences. The latter implies a desire to administer rather than understand nature, in the sense that “ the bureaucratic imposition of uniform standards and measures has been indispensable for the metamorphosis of local skills into generally valid scientific knowledge.” pg. 21. ^
- 10. Ibid. pg 21-29. ^
- 11. Paul Emmons, “Size Matters: Virtual Scale and Bodily Imagination in Architectural Drawing”, Architectural Research Quarterly, Volume 9, Issue 3-4 Sep-Dec 2005 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005) Emmon’s points out that both Serlio and Palladio included graphic scales that were located at the centerline of plan drawings and subdivided with perpendicular “tick” marks. Builders would tie knots in a rope based on this approximate distance and use the rope to “layout” the building footprint. A platinum bar that measured 1 meter equal to one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator measured along the meridian passing through Paris. Commissioned by the french Academy of Science and placed in the National Archive on June 22 1799. ^
- 12. Antoine Picon, French Architects and Engineers in the Age of the Enlightenment, trans. by Martin Thom (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988, 1992 translation) pg 312-313. See also Bill Addis, Building: 3000 Years of Design, Engineering and Construction (London, UK: Phaeton Press Limited, 2007). ^
- 13. Disciplinary formation occurred in stages and at different scales. In History of the Theory of Structures: From Arch Analysis to Computational Mechanics, Karl-Eugen Kurrer examines the work of several scientists at Dresden TU, between 1978- 1990, concerning their scholarly effort to articulate the origins of the engineering sciences by subdividing them into historical periods. The Discipline-Formation period accounts for the totality of work and research done in the engineering sciences from 1820-1900, paralleling the advances in material and structural analysis motivated by and in anticipation of the industrial revolution. In a more expanded sense, the emergence of disciplines occurred as a symptom of the scientific revolution and the inherent convergence of mathematics and natural philosophy, vis a vis the publications of Isaac Newton, in particular, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687!). The theory-experimentation-practice triad that is fundamental to the establishment engineering can be traced back to. How about Robert Hooke? ^
- 14. Porter, Trust in Numbers,“By the eighteenth-century, experimental knowledge had to a large degree come to be defined in terms of potential reproducibility” pg 15. ^
- 15. Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (New York, NY: Zone Books, 2010) pg 19. ^
- 16. The affect of a generalized equivalence achieved through measured and instructional modes of representation, correlates to a comprehensive and wholistic scientification of knowledge that was endemic to the enlightenment. See: Iro O. Wade, Intellectual Origins of the French Enlightenment, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971) and Histories of Scientific Observation ed. Lorraine Daston and Elizabeth Runback (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011). ^
- 17. Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, pg. 12. ^
- 18. The term, natural world, does refer to nature, but it also includes all human activity and production within that secular space. This distinction was particularly critical during the enlightenment because it marks the displacement of the spiritual with the corporeal. Thus, the scientification of knowledge, can also be understood as the determined projection of scientific reasoning onto all aspects of daily life as a means to reduce the influence of the church — and to a lesser extent, the guilds — on commerce and government. ^
- 19. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., eds. Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert. University of Chicago: ARTFL Encyclopédie Project (Spring 2013 Edition), Robert Morrissey (ed). ^
- 20. Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity. Cites as an example the Manufacture des Gobelins, a textile and tapestry factory located in the 13th arrondissement. Apart from textiles, the term “craft” during this time would describe the output of any tradesperson involved in the skilled manufacture of durable goods or provision of service. pg. 98-105. ^
- 21. Ibid. “These schools were billed as a way of improving both craft and craftsmen by instilling discipline, technique and a self-conscious, systematic way of working.” pg. 97. ^
- 22. Ibid. “One goal of the Encyclopedies’(sic) editors, Diderot and d’Alembert, was to intellectualize handiwork, and many people believed drawing instruction to be the best means to do so. Drawing would provide the mute craftsmen with a language in which to express the ideas and designs that underlay skill, cultivate reflection, taste, and ingenuity.”pg. 97. ^
- 23. Tosten Meyer, Knut Stegmann, Christoph Rauhut, “Handbooks, Textbooks, Manuals: Re-Reading Classical Sources of the ‘Scientification’ of Building Knowledge” in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of the European Architectural History Network, Brussels, Belgium May 31st to June 2nd 2010 (Brussels, BE: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 2012) pg. 293-299. ^
- 24. Chief among these were the french, Ecole des Ponts et Chaussèes, founded in 1747, which the engineer and historian, Bill Addis, credits with being the institution that successfully oversaw the implementation of a course of study that took advantage of the capability of instrumental drawings to transfer information between trades. ^
- 25. See: Saint, Andrew. Architect and Engineer: A study in Sibling Rivalry (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007). ^
- 26. David T. Yeomans, “Early Carpenters’ Manuals 1592-1820 in Construction History Vol. 2 (Cambridge, UK: Construction History Society, 1986). ^
- 27. ^
- 28. Karl-Eugen Kurrer, The History of the Theory of Structures: From Arch Analysis to Computational Mechanics (Berlin: Ernst and Sohn, 2008). In reference to the work of Julius Weisbach. As a form of rudimentary expert-system, or collective knowledge base, nineteenth century manuals provided reference information on the strength of materials, typical construction details, best practices regarding the use of certain structural types (such as trusses) and tables of calculated bending loads and recommended dimensions. It provided an information network among the academy, practice and construction, and verified by institutions through testing and research.27 The study of strength of materials underwent a similar shift from empirical and observational knowledge to an institutionally administered standard. Manuals had previously been dependent on the expertise and experience of fabricators for much of the reference content related to the uses and limits of iron, for example. In Architect and Engineer, Andrew Saint details how the industrialization of material manufacture and the promised potentials of materials such as concrete and iron, required testing and experimentation to extract. In response, polytechnics such as the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich — ETH —founded materials testing laboratories to provide those in practice with reliable data on the mechanical strength of materials. ^
- 29. Bill Addis, Building: 3000 Years of Design, Engineering and Construction (London, UK: Phaeton Press Limited, 2007) ^
- 30. Tom F. Peters In his essay, “How the introduction of iron in construction changed and developed patterns in design”, Tom F. Peters describes overlay thinking; “it does not analyize behaviour but simply adds one successful structural form to another and it assumes that these forms influence one another additively or perhaps synergistically to the advantage of the resultant load-bearing capacity”. ^
- 31. Robin Middleton and Marie-Nöelle Baudouin-Matuszek, Jean Rondelet: The Architect as Technician (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007). ^
- 32. Andrew Saint, Architect and Engineer: A study in Sibling Rivalry (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007) pg. 65. ^
- 33. Julius Ludwig Weisbach, Lehrbuch der Ingenieur und Maschinen-Mechanik trans. Principles of the Mechanics of Machinery and Engineering (London, UK: Hippolyte Bailliere Publisher, 1848). From the preface: “my chief aim in writing this work was the attainment of the greatest simplicity in enunciation and proof; and with this to give the demonstration of all problems, important in their practical application, by the lower mathematics only.” ^
- 34. Der Ingenieur effectively founded the engineering manual genre, and was followed by other notable publications, such as William John Macquorn Rankine’s, Useful Rules and Tables (1866) and Trautwine’s, Civil Engineers Pocket-Book (1872-1911). The latter was published by John Wiley & Sons (William Halsted Wiley, prior to 1875), its popularity led to the publication of 17 editions by 1894, and earned it the moniker of the “engineer’s bible.” It also contributed to the financial success of Wiley, which applied a similar pocket-book reference strategy to architectural graphic conventions and best-practices documented in the Architectural Graphic Standards (1934-current). ^
- 35. Weisbach, Lehrbuch der Ingenieur und Maschinen-Mechanik. From author’s preface: “a compact and orderly compilation of carefully selected rules, formulas and tables based on the most reliable theories and facts gained through experience, intended for application in engineering, practical geometry and mechanics, machines, architecture and technical matters in general.” ^
- 36. Karl-Eugen Kurrer, The History of the Theory of Structures: From Arch Analysis to Computational Mechanics (Berlin: Ernst and Sohn, 2008) pg 169. ^
- 37. Frank Newby, Cedric Price and Robert H. Suan, Air Structures: A Survey (London, UK: Ministry of Public Building and Works, 1971). ^
- 38. Whitney Moon, “Lightweight Enclosures Unit: Redefining Architecture by Leveraging Lightness,” in The Other Architect ed. Giovanna Borasi (Leipzig, DR: Canadian Center for Architecture: 2015) 396-397. ^
- 39. The Inflatable Moment: pneumatics and protest in ’68, ed. Marc Dessauce (New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999). ^
- 40. Bill Addis, Building: 3000 Years of Design, Engineering and Construction (London, UK: Phaeton Press Limited, 2007) pg. 205-209. ^
- 41. Hooke did publish his theorems in A description of helioscopes and some other instruments (1676) but as the title would suggest the audience and its intended purpose was not in the shepherding theory into practice. ^
Filip Tejchman is assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the founder of Untitled Office, a design practice that explores the intersection of building, culture, and thermodynamics. His writing has appeared in Volume, the Journal of Architectural Education, MUSEO, and the Praxis Journal of Writing + Building and his research has been awarded a Graham Foundation Grant. Tejchman has previously practiced at the offices of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Joel Sanders Architects.