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Aesthetics in the Context of Time

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From ancient times through the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution, the master builder was more artist than engineer in today's sense of the word. The importance of artistic appearance is evident in so many of the bridges that have survived into this century, even those visible only in old prints. Over the centuries, structural engineering evolved into a science, ignoring artistic expression completely. Today, the architect is generally regarded as the artist of the built environment, and not the civil engineer. Engineers and society in general have recently come to realize that a bridge is not only an object of practical use, but also a structure rich with symbolic and artistic potential. Some engineers have studied the philosophical bases of aesthetics in bridge design and developed guidelines that have become reasonably accepted.
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