Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design

When talking about another culture, there is always a risk of ideas being lost in translation, and this risk is particularly acute when a foreign engineer tries to interpret the work of a colleague from Japan. I cannot hope to provide more than a glimpse of the engineer Kawaguchi Mamoru or of his impressive and overwhelmingly diverse practice. I am fortunate, however, to have a personal connection to Kawaguchi and his work and to be able to trace a specific set of lineages that span geographic and institutional boundaries. Specifically, I will describe a structure of both stems and roots, growing in multiple directions, that connects my father, Jörg Schlaich, to Kawaguchi, and I will attempt to show how engineers of the same generation can go about learning from and influencing each other, even when they are trained in different schools of thought or embedded in different engineering cultures.

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