Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Engineering Mind

    Just as artists have a way of viewing the world around them, engineers also have a unique perspective.   During Grandparent's day at the Lake Champlain School where two of grandchildren attend we had a chance to tour the newly acquired building for a new high school location.  The building was formally the Morgan Horse Museum and consists of a post and beam construction.   I was completely enthralled by this construction.   Not only is it a beautiful building, but it also vividly exposes the post and beam construction process.   The photos below illustrate some of the joints between braces, beams, columns and the like.   In some ways this experience was a return to my childhood farm barn that was built in the 1860's as post and beam with mortise and tenon connections.    The finish on wood of this new school was much nicer than my old barn that even had some bark on the rough hewn beams.
   The only element of the construction for the new school building that I couldn't reconcile was the wooden pins in almost all the joints were still protruding.   I would have sawed them off flush with the beam.   David the architect leading the tour said that this was the common effect in modern post and beam construction.   Is that an artistic interpretation or is it too much trouble to cut them flush?   Perhaps it is the conflict between the artist and the practical engineer!
Beams make a bold statement of strength.

Joint with Pegs Protruding.

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