Spatiality, the Gas Turbine Jet Engine and Developmental Design

By Rhodri Windsor Liscombe.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper references the direct spatial configuration of the main components of the gas turbine jet engine, together with its literal consumption of space, to reconsider the spatial aspects of advanced technological design development. The geographical distribution of the experimental and manufacturing enterprise of the engine assembled in Britain by Frank Whittle, especially between 1938 and 1942, is related to his own frequent use of spatial allusion or metaphor with respect to his design work. The coincidence between jet development and the formulation of spatial theory is also examined alongside advanced mechanical engineering practice. This leads into a proposal for a more spatial representation of the processes of problem solving in technological development.

Keywords: Design, Technological Development, Metaphors of Advanced Practice, Problem-Solving

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.225-234. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.133MB).

Dr. Rhodri Windsor Liscombe

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Art History, Visual Art and Theory, Unviersity of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, F.S.A. is Head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art he previously taught at London and McGill Universities. His major publications include William Wilkins 1778-1839 (Cambridge, 1980) – revisited in The Age of Wilkins. The Architecture of Improvement (with David Watkin, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 2000) - Francis Rattenbury and British Columbia: Architecture and Challenge in the Imperial Age, (with A. Barrett, UBC, 1983), “Altogether American”: Robert Mills Architect and Engineer (Oxford, 1994) and “The New Spirit”. Modern Architecture in Vancouver 1938-1963 (Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1997; recipient of the Vancouver Book Prize. Current projects include research on intersections between Modern Movement design and late British imperial policy, awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, together with a position paper on Ideal City design and a major public lecture series ‘Living the Global City’ in conjunction with programming in preparation for the World Urban Forum 3.


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