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Burning our bridges


How ironic, and sad, that in an NCE issue which coincides with Brunel's 200th birthday the Institution of Civil Engineers' director general should be reported as advocating leaving the organisation of bridge design competitions to RIBA.

This gives a wholly wrong image of subservience to architecture and is likely to discourage young people with an aesthetic sense and a broad feeling for design, the Brunels of the future, from entering the engineering profession.

By all means leave building design competitions to RIBA but for bridges and other civil engineering works, where function, flair, technical innovation, appearance, economy and durability are all equally paramount, the organisation of competitions should be firmly in the hands of the ICE and should be seen to be there.

We obviously still have a lot to learn about status from Brunel and his great contemporaries.

James Sutherland, 32 Fairfax Road, London, W4 1EW

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