Art in Engineering

Trying to decide which classes to take as an IDEAS student can definitely be overwhelming. Everything could relate to IDEAS, so any class is really a viable option. Discussing the Brooklyn Bridge in the first-year seminar during the past two weeks, a topic that we covered was the role of art in engineering. The engineer who dreamed and enabled the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge was Roebling, a “Renaissance man” who could not dedicate himself to engineering alone. He was in a way what all of us hope to be, someone who integrated his passions in order to create something that he loved.


He went beyond the basic and cookie-cutter idea of a bridge only serving the simple function of moving people from point A to point B; he made the bridge an event, a monument, a feeling for everyone who experiences it. With this we discussed not only the purpose of monuments but the purpose of the engineer in creating them—creating something new to be admired, to challenge the “way things are” and imagine a different reality.

Professor Best stressed the thought that each engineer should have to take a class like art, philosophy, or psychology—something out of the “realm” of engineering that would in effect actually help us with the duty of being an engineer. Its surprising how many avenues and implications things have, that nothing is one sided, and that changing your perspective and looking through different lenses can really open up your eyes to new and important aspects of life.


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