|Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT|
Post Number: 1103
|Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 08:06 am: |
THE “GAP” !
by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
We are all familiar with cracks, crevices, joints, and yes, gaps! Oh, gaps can mean different things as they occur in different places, but still they generally indicate some sort of void-- an open space unfilled, and basically useless, benign, not too attractive, and flat out, “wanting”! Gaps can be physical [as in a split seam] mental [as in “I forgot”], or natural [as in something moved from where it was].
Gaps, too, occur as indications of quite variant opinions, unresolved issues and the rather apparent different thinking between or among one or more factions-- your typical “generation gap” [as in the one (or more) we’ve been in since the 1960's]. Some aspects of this are quite unfortunate, and relate to the theme of “anything over 30 is “bad” in some way”. Not so, kids, beg to differ!
Why do architectural and engineering schools celebrate the “old guys” who were active in the early days of the professions, and found or created the techniques, methods, or protocols still used today? Do we celebrate them for what they achieved, what they left, or for what they created as sound “architectural gospel” and work ethics or methodology? From the Prairie School and Usonianism of Wright to the genius of the engineers who designed and worked the Panama Canal, what are we celebrating?
Oh, and perhaps even more importantly, what did they know or do that we DO NOT celebrate because it has been ignored, lost, not perpetuated, discarded, deemed irrelevant, stupid or old? The “stuff” that no longer seem to fit our motifs, working operations, programming, shtick, goals, methods, perspectives, or the mere fact that they are dated they are deemed useless? Herein lies the problem we, too often, trip over today! Basic and fundamental information that needs to be available and used, not to restore or connote the “old times” but the fact that they are relevant, sound, good, well-founded, and yes, helpful even in our pursuit of “faster-better-cheaper” [they might even show that this theme really doesn’t work in the long run]
All of the stuff of the past may also support the overthrow of some things done today that, very candidly, do not do anyone any good-- like the requisite speed does not produce infallible documents and other results; the general cannot rule the specific; done right is done once, etc. What is out there that can and should be used, not that is simply old and therefore, sacred, but that is so basic and time tested that nothing new has come that replaces it.
Most of the time we want to fill gaps, in one manner or another. Here we note the gap between construction knowledge and information of the past, and what is being taught, used, and developed today. There IS a gap! The schools and newer professionals are either ignoring or missing out on a tremendous amount of valid information, simply because it is of the past. There is a prevailing need to re-connect that past and that information with current, modern and evolving processes and personnel—we need to fill the gap!
Gaps are best filled by material that adheres to both sides and walls of the gaps. Where it engages only one or the other, a new gap will eventually open. So in our problem we face a real challenge in bringing the past to the present and future-- OK, we need to "download" [prefer that to "debrief!] the grey beards [me being one among a host of others] by giving over the information, insight, perspectives, techniques, war stories, side-skills, “tricks of the trade” and all such information. But we can’t just unload this without cooperation, needs, searching, asking, and yes, respect from the current and future professionals. Problem is, they don’t know what is missing - what to ask for, or that it is even available and highly beneficial to them.
Hmmmm! CSI! That sounds like a challenge to me!