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Design Paradigms by Henry Petroski

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9

The Design Climate for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

A Paradigm of the Selective Use of History

 

 

 

The design prejudices prevailing in the 1920s and 1930s, when the George Washington, Golden Gate, Tacoma Narrows, and other major suspension bridges were on the drawing board, evinced confidence in analytical techniques and a preoccupation with aesthetics. Almost a half-century of relatively successful experience with suspension bridges like the Brooklyn had led designers to focus on extrapolating from that successful experience. Such a focus led in turn to a climate in which some designers forgot or ignored the first principles on which the successful designs originally were based. These principles rested upon criteria that explicitly recognized ...

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