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Princeton University

The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges

Princeton University via edX


In this engineering course you will learn how to analyze bridges from three perspectives:

  1. Efficiency = calculations of forces/stresses
  2. Economy = evaluation of societal context and cost
  3. Elegance = form/appearance based on engineering principles, not decoration

With a focus on some significant bridges built since the industrial revolution, the course illustrates how engineering is a creative discipline and can become art. We also show the influence of the economic and social context in bridge design and the interplay between forces and form.

This is the first of three courses on the Art of Structural Engineering, each of which are independent of each other. The two other courses will be on tall buildings/towers and vaults.

No certificates, statements of accomplishment, or other credentials will be awarded in connection with this course.


Week 1: Introduction to Structural Art
Week 2: The Origins of Structural Art: British Metal Forms
Week 3: John Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge
Week 4: Othmar Ammann and (some of) his Bridges of NYC
Week 5: The Golden Gate Bridge
Week 6: Robert Maillart and Reinforced Concrete Bridges
Week 7: Origins of Prestressing: Freyssinet, Magnel, and Finsterwalder
Week 8: New Bridge Forms: Christian Menn
Week 9: The Politics and Art of Spanish Bridge Design

Taught by

Maria Garlock


4.5 rating, based on 8 Class Central reviews

Start your review of The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges

  • Anonymous
    Professor Maria Garlock ("Maria") was outstanding in her Delivery of the MOOC: The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges. Salient Points are Noted. 1. For a Lehigh and Cornell graduate, she delivers 10 times her weight in Gold Nuggets. i.e.…
  • 1.Bridges are made-up of high strength concrete.
    2.they are helpful during strategic movement during war.
    3.Basic components of bridges.
    4.Types of bridges.
    1.Deck bridge.
    2.through bridge:the bridges whose road level or formation on which vehicles pass are supported or suspended at the bottom of the structure.EX.suspension bridge.
    3.semi through type bridge.
    4.arch bridge
    5.suspension bridge.
    6.Continious bridge.
    7.cable stayed bridge.
    8.Skew bridge.
  • Anonymous
    It is already clear that the concept of structural art is an outdated concept..Efficiency, economy etc as defining parameters of "structural art" concept are in fact discouraging for creating real structural artistry..A much more realistic and elaborated view on structural art concept deficiencies is given in the book Towards a New Engineering by M.Llunji..which i think should be read before starting this course
  • Anonymous
    Congratulations to Professor Maria Garlock and the course staff for developing and presenting this excellent online course regarding Bridges, which was very informative, easy to follow and fun to study.

    Its unique presentation and the approach used to introduce technical concepts to the right level of detail for a course of this nature, in an easy to understand way need to be highly commended.
  • Anonymous
    Very instructive and practical course. I have got now the key and great references and capabilities to monitor and evaluate the infrastructure projects and programs in several countries and regions.
  • Profile image for Ikenga Chijioke
    Ikenga Chijioke
    This course covers more than just the technical aspects of bridges. It discusses social, political and to some extent economical points of view as well. It is particularly good to see what many other students are doing. The mathematics and engineering are all pre-calculus.
  • Nikola

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