Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 123–128 | Cite as

Paconius and the pedestal for Apollo: A case study of error in conceptual design

  • Henry Petroski


A classic case history of an engineering failure related by Vitruvius is presented as a paradigm of human error in the design process. It is argued that a familiarity among designers with such case studies could be instrumental in reducing conceptual errors in the design process generally.


Design Process Conceptual Design Case History Classic Case Human Error 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Ferguson, Eugene S. “The Mind's Eye: Nonverbal Thought in Technology,”Science 197 (August 26, 1977), 827–836Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Vitruvius.The Ten Books on Architecture. New York: Dover PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Coulton, J.J.Ancient Greek Architects at Work: Problems of Structure and Design. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Petroski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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