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Bridge of the Constitution

Calatrava’s bridge in Venice May be the subject of a lawsuit (hattip David)

From the Independent, link.

Italians – and Venetians –have never shown much gratitude, however. After endless criticism over its aesthetic, its durability and even its accessibility for the disabled, the “starchitect” now faces legal action as a result of alleged deficiencies in the construction.

In the latest development, it’s emerged that the city council is suing him for the €463,000 (£384,000) that the controversial structure has already cost it in necessary repairs and improvements since the original plans were presented.

Here is a news story about the pod added to the bridge.

The pod, which for years has sat idle, was inaugurated without fanfare, similar to when the bridge itself was unveiled in 2008. At the time, the bridge was opened in the dead of night after the city council canceled its official inauguration over protests from local politicians.


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Engineers as Leaders, ahhh not so much.

I love engineering. Finding answers to problems is what we do, and we are pretty good at it.

But I think we are terrible at defining the problems. I have been on projects where meetings and arguments would rage for days about some minor technical aspect of a design when the solution is really a change in thinking. Maybe the problems would go away if you made the bridge a two span structure instead of three. Maybe concrete is not the solution to every problem. I’m just saying…

Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.

I would also argue that engineers are micro thinkers and often miss the larger picture. Maybe because it is difficult to quantify a large view, maybe because of the fear of the unknown. Maybe because we are used to working on the smallest details, once the big picture has been passed on to us. (I have had managers who argued for perfect plans with perfect details, but missed the obvious that the overall design was flawed from the start.)

Ahhh where was I, oh yeah, engineers as leaders. It seems obvious that engineers should rule the world. We have big brains, impeccable social skills and problem solving credentials out the wazoo but for some reason we are not leading the charge.

So what do you think, are engineers leaders or do we just work on other people’s  ideas?

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Sunday Night sketchup and odd thoughts

Rendered this for six hours. I need a faster machine…

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about change, especially how to change engineers. (It doesn’t have to be engineers strictly speaking, but it does boil down to changing minds.)

My wife, a vegan, believes that all meat eaters will eventually see the light and change to a plant based lifestyle once they are forced into it. By that I mean, they will face a catastrophic health scare and the Doctor will suggest a more congenial food regime.

Is that the key to changing engineering minds? Some kind of catastrophic occurrence?  How do you motivate change? Small nudges on a daily basis, or a major wallop to the frontal lobe? (Figuratively speaking of course.)

I prefer the wallop myself…