Production is, in a civilized society, the primary means of physical survival—and it is demanding work. Art is, on the other hand, nourishes the soul; it can relax you, recharge your batteries and provide the fuel you need to charge ahead against all odds.
The celebration of engineers and their achievements through art (literature, plays, poems, sketches, songs, cinema) is an exception in modern culture that celebrates celebrities. One such exception was the release last year of the IMAX film Dream Big. There is another organization you may not have heard of that celebrates civil engineers through cinema: sOlar eye communications (www.solareye.biz). I first heard of them in Fall 2015 in a newsletter from AISC when their documentary film Bridging Urban America (www.bridginguamericafilm.com) was released. The film is an inspiring story about Ralph Modjeski, a master bridge builder – his life and the signature bridges he built. I had alluded to this film in my article Your Medium Is Infrastructure in this Special Features > Civil Engineering and You article series.
What does the title Leaning Out have to do with structural engineering and high rises? Basia answered thus, “As he describes it, Les was able to excel at specific extreme sports, such as wind surfing, mountain climbing, racing cars, because he leaned out. He found the ideal technique! I think it applies to his engineering innovations, iconic hi-rises and approach to collaborations. It’s a metaphor for his life philosophy; how he sees things based on his experiences. He really stands out. And remember, he’s seen a lot. 89 years old.”