Page 10 - Arup - Total Design over time
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Engineering a better world
When it comes to creativity and the arts, the worlds of design, fashion and architecture tend to grab our attention. But when we look a little closer to appreciate the wonderful façade on our favourite building, the performance of a car, or the mysterious ease with which something ‘just works’, often what we are admiring is the work of the engineer.
It is their work that not only interprets and brings a vision to life, but frequently has a formative hand in its design. And yet, we rarely acknowledge the technical brilliance behind the artistic or architectural expression.
At its heart, engineering is about helping people live simpler, easier lives. Its social dimension affects our quality of life, whether it is a new transport route that shortens a daily commute by an hour or two, or the building of a bridge that will connect an isolated rural community to the world beyond.
In this environment, Ove Arup and his  rm stand out. Ove’s progressive ideas about shaping a better world make him the perfect lens through which to show that creative engineering is about more than nuts and bolts and screws.
His holistic approach – realised in his Total Design philosophy – has stood the test of time. And it will continue to be relevant as the world changes. Innovations such as arti cial intelligence, autonomous driving and leaps in communication will all require engineering to make the complex simple.
Britain has a great engineering tradition: from Matthew Boulton in the 18th century and Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 19th century, to James Dyson today. Since the V&A’s beginnings, design and engineering have been a signi cant part of the museum’s purpose. We have often marvelled at engineers’ impressive feats – incredible underground networks, complex airports, magni cent bridges – but we want to show that engineering is about much more than this.
By focusing on engineering through a book that celebrates its achievements and looks to the future, we can see how profoundly it impacts your daily life. Engineering is so important to the world we live in. We should give it the recognition – and respect – it deserves.
Martin Roth
Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum

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