François Raulier - Engineering like a modern art of intelligence and creativity

François Raulier - a co-owner of RBTT Consultants narrates: The creation of beautiful engineering solutions is not something that is ever done in isolation. It is always a collaborative effort drawing on the best of the various skill sets involved. Engineers, traditionally, do not have the reputation for having the most developed of aesthetic flair. That, however, does not mean that they do not recognise and appreciate beauty when they see it. It also does not mean they cannot be enthusiastic and imaginative when it comes to bringing beauty to life. Unfortunately, there are only a few architects who feel that engineers have anything to contribute to the creative design process. I have worked all of my professional life as a consulting engineer. In that time, I have had the chance to work with hundreds of architects, most with a burning ambition to leave their mark on the built environment. Many had quite brilliant imaginations and their ideas regularly led to take a sharp intakes of breath. I have often said to myself, and occasionally even said out loud, “now that’s an elegant solution” or “I think that theme for this design is wonderful” or “where does this guy get all his wonderful ideas from?”. Because I then became excited, in virtually all instances my very next thought was “how can my own design enhance and work with this idea?”. Unfortunately, such moments have often been down to chance exchanges during otherwise formal, and often tedious, meetings. It has always puzzled me why architects appear so reluctant to set out their vision to the design team when they have no problem doing so for their client. After all, however great the vision is, it is the team that will turn it into reality, so shouldn’t they also be enthused by it? In my thirty odd years as a consultant, only one single architect, out of those hundreds I’ve encountered, has ever taken the time to come to our office and present to the team of fifteen engineers he would be working with what he had just presented to the client. Why is that? Why is it any less important to get the engineers as excited as the client about what, together, we are all hoping to achieve?