Is the lift a university subject?
ELEVATORI MAGAZINE 3/2021: DISCOVER THE NEW ISSUE
Ing. Raffaella Lione
Ordinario di Architettura Tecnica – Dipartimento di Ingegneria – Università degli Studi di Messina
I n my university memories, first as a student and then on the other side of the fence, I have seen the subject of ‘technical systems’ take on what I would at best describe as secondary, if not marginal, roles in civil and construction engineering.
The impression is that, even where they have been discussed, with a few fortunate exceptions, they have represented a sort of hindrance, an accident on the way. I would like to hope that this was not the case, and is not the case for students of Electrical or Electrotechnical Engineering, which is studied in many universities, but the (well-founded) impression is that interest does not reach a good scale, and similarly I do not think that hydraulic engineers have dealt, or are now dealing, with ‘home’ systems.
Obviously, there is no lack of ‘high’ education, but there is a lack of references to the relationship between the systems and the architectural space and the way they are integrated with the building equipment.
As a student of the degree course in Civil Engineering, construction section, at the Sapienza University in Rome, I passed (with some satisfaction) an exam in Technical Systems for Buildings, but I mainly studied the issues (including sizing) of heating and cooling systems; I also learned something useful for understanding electrical systems in Electrical Engineering.
In both cases, however, I remember that there was a lack of in-depth study from a technicalconstructive point of view.
This has a number of quite reasonable explanations. On the one hand, there is the undeniable tendency to provide learners with a very solid theoretical basis that then makes them capable of interacting in a very short time with various professional engineering application problems (today this situation is changing, especially with the three-year degree courses, designed to be immediately ‘professionalising’, even without disregarding basic knowledge, the extent of which has in any case been greatly reduced).
On the other hand, we must consider the relationship that technical systems for the building industry (by the way, I also define lifting ‘systems’ all lifts, escalators and so on) have historically had with the building body, in terms of both construction and distribution/functionality.
This relationship deserves a few words and some reflection…