Architects were historians

Once upon a time, the science of determining the strength of a building didn’t exist. Architects didn’t push boundaries much unless they were asked to by a king or some other wealthy merchant. As a result, Architects of the past all study the great works like the Pantheon, the Parthenon, and the Coliseum. There are others too, those are just what we are familiar with.

Flash forward to 1889 and the completion of the Eiffel tower, the first wide scale use of highly scientific structural engineering principles, and from that day forward, architecture was changed forever. Architecture was no longer about know what came previously because that didn’t matter. Predicting the behavior of an entirely new design was possible. History didn’t hold us down, and the pace of change accelerated far beyond the rate it changed at in the millenia before.

Taller buildings.

Bigger domes.

More open spans.

Curved shapes.

All of this enabled through understanding.

The Architect was released from his shackles and transformed deeper into artistry and further from historian.

This is how many industries function. Complex. Full of applications, but lacking in a depth of understanding. Then, little by little, discoveries are made. Until one day there is an analytical science in the field. After that, we’re no longer bound by the empiricisms of the past. The future is unbounded from the past.

This is happening all around us today in so many fields. Keep vigilant because if you are a historian when the world is looking for artists, you’re not going to like what happens next.

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