• Length:
    8 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–3 hours per week
  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

About this course

Skip About this course

In this engineering course you will learn how to analyze bridges from three perspectives:

  1. Efficiency = calculations of forces/stresses
  2. Economy = evaluation of societal context and cost
  3. Elegance = form/appearance based on engineering principles, not decoration

With a focus on some significant bridges built since the industrial revolution, the course illustrates how engineering is a creative discipline and can become art. We also show the influence of the economic and social context in bridge design and the interplay between forces and form.

This is the first of three courses on the Art of Structural Engineering, each of which are independent of each other. The two other courses will be on tall buildings/towers and vaults.

No certificates, statements of accomplishment, or other credentials will be awarded in connection with this course.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • How to solve for the efficiency of structures using the appropriate formulas
  • How to evaluate a structure within the measures of structural art
  • How economic, social and culture influences structural design
  • How to analyze bridge forms: suspension, beams, pre-stressed, arch, cable-stayed, tied-arch
Week 1: Introduction to Structural Art
Week 2: The Origins of Structural Art: British Metal Forms
Week 3: John Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge
Week 4: Othmar Ammann and (some of) his Bridges of NYC
Week 5: The Golden Gate Bridge
Week 6: Robert Maillart and Reinforced Concrete Bridges
Week 7: Origins of Prestressing: Freyssinet, Magnel, and Finsterwalder
Week 8: New Bridge Forms: Christian Menn
Week 9: The Politics and Art of Spanish Bridge Design

Meet your instructors

Maria Garlock
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Princeton University

Learner testimonials

"Delightful course! Interesting and engaging!"

"This is a well-organized, fascinating course! The math is pretty easy, but the methodology is quite sophisticated, as are the historical details surrounding iconic bridges. This is a real engineering course, tempered with appreciation for artistic elements, harmony with the local environment, and the human drama of large-scale projects in civil engineering."

"Really interesting and easy-understandable. The instructor is the best I ever had many years ago in this career."