Purpose Structural engineering as a part of civil engineering has over 5,000 years of distinguished history, as documented in this paper. An attempt is made in this paper to define structural engineering as it exists at present, then some historical structures are identified. Design/methodology/approach The advances of structural engineering are discussed in chronological order, encompassing the development of the concept, analysis, the use of innovative construction materials, and construction. The developments which necessitated the change of design philosophies are presented, and the current status of structural engineering is discussed in terms of several specific topics. Opportunities and challenges in the new millennium in structural engineering are then presented in terms of education, service to society, and research. Findings In the past, structural engineering always met the challenges it faced. It helped to improve our quality of life, and its role in society is not expected to change in the near future. Originality/value The paper has provided an over-view of this important profession – from ancient history to the present day. Based on research over several decades it offers a prediction of the direction in which this profession and the academic research that underpins it is likely to take in the future.
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Building and Construction