Preservation & Engineering

How many preservationists out there have an engineering background? How many engineers have a preservation background? Not many, to my knowledge.

These fields seem so opposite, yet how can we rehabilitate structures without a sense of engineering? Ideas can only do so much before they need to be implemented. When preservationists and engineers understand each other – at least a bit – projects have a greater rate of success for all.

Pin truss bridge in West Woodstock, Vermont.

Although I am unassumingly capable of calculus, and I have taken physics, I have never taken an engineering course. Lately I’ve been thinking it would be a good idea. But there are so many fields within engineering. Something that would benefit me in the transportation world would be my best bet. It is amazing what engineers can do and just how involved they are in every project. From road reconstruction to bridge building to historic bridge rehabilitation, it is fascinating.

Are any of you readers engineers? Where should I start? I don’t foresee earning a degree in engineering, but I’d like to take a class or two. Is there an engineering 101 class? What about classes geared towards building lovers like myself? Maybe something from UVM’s Civil Engineering program? Any advice?