If you’re interested in structural engineering, you may have found that it’s not the easiest profession to learn about. There are a few sources – there are some organisations that are trying to raise its profile, there are a few good books and some youtube videos.
I found the most helpful was talking to a family friend who was a structural engineer about what it was like. He had trained as both an architect and engineer, worked for a famous company, and then was lecturing and inspiring others by teaching creativity and good design.
But for those who don’t know any structural engineers, I think personal blogs are a good place to start. I’ve found blogging to be a lot harder than it looks, so these people are obviously very passionate about what they do to have been so persistent in writing about it. I hope they open up another world for you.
Being Brunel – I heard the author of this blog – Tom Wallace – speak a few years ago and he inspired me to start my own blog. He’s written something every week for 4 years, which is a very impressive achievement in itself; but more than that he’s said lots of interesting things that I’ve never heard of before, like this blog on Conway’s Law. He’s got some great photos that make it real and some helpful tips if you’re interested in starting your own blog.
The Happy Pontist – I love this blog. HP’s infectious enthusiasm is backed up by an incredible depth of knowledge. Structural engineering is designing how things stand up, which could be for anything, but the particular fun with bridges is that the structure is on display (unlike most buildings for example). Very difficult to pick favourites from amongst the 750+ posts but would recommend this one on one of Robert Maillart’s gem’s in Switzerland, and this piece of one of Calatrava’s bridges that broke the mould.
My Passion for Structural Engineering – Waseem Rana writes this popular blog, which mostly focuses on particular technical challenges with engineering. Probably most useful for if you’re in the first few years of working but it does give a flavour of the maths and science aspects of the job. Particular highlights for me were reading about his passion for what he does, and also some signposts to his other favourite structural blogs. I was inspired by the layout he’s used when I was setting up my own blog.
Civil Engineering Gyan – I enjoyed reading this blog, which is co-authored by Rakshita Nagayach an Indian civil engineer by training, and a prolific blogger (this is just one of hers). She writes on a wide range of topics related to engineering but I particularly enjoyed this post about great engineers. It’s nice to hear a few names outside the British and American ones I’ve heard of elsewhere.
Structural Madness – If you’re lucky as an engineer you get to work at the cutting edge of what is possible, I think that is what co-authors Jinal Doshi and Darshan Pala mean by the name of their blog Structural Madness. For example, some people may have considered it madness when the the Burj Khalifa smashed the world record for tallest building by 300m; but it has proven to be a success. This blog, started when they were both in Grad School in the US is the top result when searching for structural engineering blogs. They tackle difficult concepts but use lots of pictures to make this an accessible way to learn about structural engineering.