October 3, 2007

Staff Picks: Photo excerpt from Everyday Engineering

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:03 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Chronicle Books publishes some of the coolest books on the planet.
In 2005, Chronicle partnered with a California-based design firm called IDEO to put out a book called Thoughtless Acts?, a little book of photography that illuminated ways people unconsciously interact with objects in the world -- like placing something in your teeth when your hands are full or following a straight line in the sidewalk.
Recently IDEO, along with author Andrew Burroughs, came out with another book called Everyday Engineering. Like Thoughtless Acts?, Everyday Engineering is a collection of photographs and annotations. This time, the book invites readers to envision the world, the "built environment," through the eyes of an engineer. You'll notice things that you pass by every day: the facade of a building, the shape of a manhole cover, a loose screw.
Below is a brief photo excerpt from Everyday Engineering. The caption beneath each image indicates which section of the book the image is taken from.
Everyday Engineering is presented in two parts. First, it shows the ways engineers react to and make decisions about design. Burroughs takes you behind the scenes to look at craftsmanship, illusions, elegance, and the function behind the form. In the second part, it shows how the built environment is affected by forces beyond the engineer's control, like corrosion, weather, abuse, wear from repetitious use, and the unseen or unanticipated. Here, Burroughs talks about issues like the weakness of corners, ugliness, choosing one material over another, and consequences of hasty solutions or the lack of the right tools and equipment. And much more.
The book is made up of mainly photographs, so you can expect to learn a lot by reading the introduction to each section and then looking at examples from the real world.