For starters, I went to a search engine and typed in “structural engineer” images. I was not surprised to see some rather silly images…but also a lot of construction site images…
The next thing I did was to ask around to see what the perception was of an engineer, or at least what people thought the perception was of an engineer…
- “to a lot of Architects we are probably “The Construction Nerds” of the industry; over cautious and rigid in our approach”
- “to the Contractors we are the link to common sense construction while adapting to the Architectural needs”
- “you’re all a bunch of idiots, let me give you a hammer and some nails and see you get up there and roof for a change”
- “I have no idea what you do, I just know you have a pink calculator, and that is totally cute”
- “I gave up at calculus, so I perceive engineers as ‘those who got past calculus’…”
- “In general I think that people aren’t really sure what engineers do. I mean most people know that they select sizes for members etc., but I think that sometimes they don’t understand why engineers make the decisions that they do and thus can become easily frustrated with them without real cause”
- “I think that people think we are more shy than we really are”
- “…I mean I know we don’t have any fashion sense, but we all have great sense of humors”
Now, I’m going to share some images and information that could very well get me into some trouble with my group of coworkers! I’m going to tell you that we structural engineers are mostly harmless. I’m going to tell you that we can take a joke or two [Q. What do engineer’s use for birth control? A. Their personalities]. I’m going to tell you that we are really silly and fun people who happen to have odd things hanging around our desks! [These pictures were taken at various desks of the HOK St. Louis Structures group; love ya guys!]
In any case, I guess I wanted to get around to saying that despite what barriers may exist between architects, designers, engineers, contractors, etc., when we set down the pencils, drawings, calculators, and books, each of us is fun in our own way. Each of us is intelligent and interesting unlike the person next to us or the professional that we are trying to work with. We may not understand your love of the cantilever, you may not understand our love of not having the cantilever [unless you give us something to work with]; but without each other, we’d have to know a lot more stuff. Really, at the end of the day, who wants to have a head crammed full of stuff anyway???
Maybe though, we should at least convince the rest of the world that we are more than what the images show on search engine results, [*shudder*], scary thoughts!