The son of an engineer,
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth, England in 1806. He studied
in France where he developed an appreciation for the architecture of the
Grand Siecle. He entered his father's office in 1822 and apprenticed with
his father on the early stages of the construction for the Thames Tunnel.
Although he quickly advanced to the position of engineer in charge, his
apprenticeship ended when the river broke through the tunneling shield.
from the tunnel accident, Brunel entered a competition for the bridge
over the Avon Gorge at Clifton. Although he won this commission in 1831,
construction was not completed until after his death. In 1833, Brunel
was appointed chief engineer of the new Great Western Railway. In this
position, Brunel came to pioneer several strength tests and preservation
imaginative and confident designs for everything from tunnels, railways
and bridges to harbors, prefabricated buildings and ships. He confidently
readopted contemporary concepts of efficiency and beauty in order to meet
the challenge of the new technology. He was particularly instrumental
in expanding use of iron.
his career Brunel made an effort to seek out new technologies and anticipate
developing markets. He used fundamental logic and analysis to reshape
the mechanical and structural engineering of his time. In doing so, he
helped reshape the art and technology of architecture.
Brunel died in 1859.