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Glasgow and West of Scotland ... and learn the lessons of history

A PROFESSOR of architecture has told a Scottish meeting of civil engineers that lack of historical knowledge about the design of structures could only be to the detriment of their profession.

Professor Andy McMillian of Paisley University told a meeting of Glasgow and West of Scotland ICE that while architects received a thorough foundation in the history of structures, engineers did not.

McMillian illustrated what historical training could bring to creative design with slides showing the Egyptian pyramids, Parthenon

in Athens, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.

The slides were examples of structures which reflect people's desire to know where they are and the sense of reassurance that this brings: 'Human beings recognise and remember objects of unique configuration,' said McMillian.

He was supported by a member of the audience who read out a passage from an ICE meeting from 1900 calling for students to have a greater understanding of engineering through history.

MacMillian, who is an aesthetic advisor for the Scottish Office, differentiated between beauty and aesthetics. He defined aesthetics as 'an instinctive understanding of why things are right', before showing how the use of colour, texture, exterior detail and scale all contributed to the aesthetic qualities of a structure.

The designer required the talents of a psychologist, sociologist, historian and artist, he said.

McMillian's lecture - advising on aesthetics - was organised by the local association to commemorate Glasgow's role as UK city of architecture and design for 1999.

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