Architects have always been a blessing ⸻heroes whose acts have often gone unsung. Most times, they only get blamed when a building collapses or when there is a fundamental problem with a structural design. This makes one wonder, what exactly is the work of an architect? Physics, Mathematics, and empirical knowledge are the foundations of structural engineering –an arm of civil engineering that deals with all things framework and design of buildings.
What do Structural Engineers do?
The job of a structural engineer is to make sure that a structure can withstand stress and environmental pressure while remaining secure, stable, and totally safe during the period of use. They are concerned with the bones and load-bearing elements of human-made structures by giving detailed body knowledge, accurately predicting the performance of each material that is used to resist loads and pressures in a structure.
Take a look at those structures that are thousands of years old and have still defied time; works like the great pyramids of Egypt or the Greece Acropolis. These structures have remained because effective structural engineering principles were adopted.
Basic Structural Principles
Engineering thrives on principles. One key structural principle that must be adopted if any building is going to last is that-elements (roof, walls, and floor) must remain stationary. This can only happen when there is an equilibrium of forces. That is, forces that are acting on these elements are equal and opposite.
Are Architects Structural Engineers?
Most Structural Engineers are architects in their own right. However, the clear demarcation here is this-while structural engineers are much more interested and trained to look into the strength and durability of a building, architects are basically responsible for the look of the building, aesthetic feel, and appearance. But both architects and structural engineers need to work hand-in-hand in designing and building a project. It is highly important that architects know the compression strength of structural elements supporting a building because it will be greatly needed when creating a structural design and material selection. Architects are trained to make the most of a site; whether it is for residential purpose or a musical theatre, they create the best aesthetics and comfort that can be achieved with the site.
Structural engineers pay more attention to structure, examining the quality of materials to be used, and selecting the most suitable material for each level of the work.