Welcome to the web site of New Paradigm Engineering, LLC, a structural engineering design firm. I hope you'll take some time to leisurely browse through its pages.
As you read, you'll find that I spend a lot of time talking about "values" and "design criteria," so allow me to say just a bit about why I think these concepts are so important and relevant to good engineering or, for that matter, any other human enterprise.
Values inform and animate any practical actions that societies take to meet the needs of their members. Values form the overarching context or lens through which any action is evaluated. If we think of values as a society's "operating system," all of that society's "applications"- economic, political, social, ecological- will be informed by the operating system- its basic values.
The same is true of the work of a building design team. A good design solution begins with a clear articulation of the complete set of values that the design team will consider as it constructs the design criteria for the project at hand. Of course, the work of the team must address the usual criteria of feasibility, technical correctness, and cost. However, those are just the beginning of those criteria that constitute a truly satisfactory, well engineered solution.
Fundamentally, I'm suggesting that, in the work of creating a new or remodeling an existing building, we must ask questions, sometimes difficult ones, about why we're doing what we're doing. Perhaps more importantly, we have to grapple honestly with the impact of our particular project on the environment, the natural world, and the global family of people.
In other words, we must be very clear about the values that are important to us and be sure that the design criteria, and ultimately the design itself, will manifest those values.