Times are tough and speaking to a friendly QS recently we were told that there is no room for beautiful designs or extended optioneering. Clients just want engineers to design economic solutions quickly….skinny structures are called for.

At face value this might seem depressing but we should see this as an opportunity to research history and see how others reacted to past challenges….there can be beauty in (engineering) economy. One such example is the work of Albert Kahn in 1906 when he designed the Pierce Car Factory, a slender array of steelwork that created one of the world’s first true modular buildings.

photo: Flat Iron Building – courtesy Rob Young