How Structures Work: Design and Behaviour from Bridges to Buildings

How Structures Work: Design and Behaviour from Bridges to Buildings

David Yeomans

Preference :

The dedication of this book requires some explanation because, although it has been written to be suitable for architectural students, it was not originally conceived as such. The dedicatees include two archaeologists and an antiquarian book dealer. The idea for the book goes back further than I care to remember. Visiting an archaeologist friend, I picked up a book on Greek architecture, and it became apparent that the author’s understanding of structure and construction lacked something. ‘Don’t you think, Louise, that it would be a good idea for archaeologists to learn something about building structures?’ ‘Yes it would’ – and so the seed was sown. The idea was simply that something on building structures might be useful for people with little or no mathematics but whose work or subject of study involves understanding buildings. Many years later, Jane Grenville asked me if I could give some classes to her master’s course on buildings archaeology at York University. ‘Structures for archaeologists? I’ve always wanted to try teaching that’. And so the text for this began with the notes for that class. Working up the text into this form was pushed aside by other things until Julia, a dealer in antiquarian engineering books, said that she had asked the late Professor Skempton if he could teach her some structures. He’d claimed it would be difficult because the subject is highly mathematical. She thought this nonsense, pointing out that she frequently heard engineers discussing structures but they never used any mathematics. Of course, she’s right; we seldom do when thinking about structures. The general experience is that one manages with a few simple concepts. Given the rule for static equilibrium, the triangle of forces and some ideas about moments and elasticity, one has the basic bag of tools that will cope with most situations. What one needs to add to this to make a designer, rather than a mere stress analyst, is an understanding of the properties of the materials that make up the structures we build, because no real understanding is possible without that. How then to provide the simple bag of tools? Goaded by Julia’s demands, I determined to tackle the problem.


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Content :
  • Brackets and Bridges
  • Stiffening a Beam – Girder Bridges
  • Arches and Suspension Bridges
  • Bringing the Loads to the Ground – The Structural Scheme
  • Safe as Houses? – Walls
  • Frames – A Problem of Stability
  • Floors and Beams – Deflections and Bending Moments
  • Providing Shelter – Roofs
  • Structures in a Three‐Dimensional World
  • Materials and Workmanship


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