"What is the difference between an architect and an engineer?"
"The deuce! You ask me a question difficult to answer. Let me give you an apologue.
Once upon a time there was a pair of little twins, who were so much alike that their mother could not tell them apart. They had not only the same features, height, walk, but also the same tastes and habits. It was necessary for them to work, for their parents were poor. Both became masons. They grew skilful, and what they did was done equally well by both.
The father, who was narrow-minded, thought that these four hands, which labored at the same work with equal skill, would produce more and better if the work were divided into two pairs of hands. He said, then, to one of them, ‘You will only work underground ‘; and to the other,’ You will only work above ground.’ The brothers thought there was little sense in this, as they helped each other in the one case as well as in the other; but, being submissive sons, they obeyed.
Still, these workmen, who, up to this time, had agreed, and made mutual efforts in perfecting their work, did not cease from quarrelling from that time. He who worked above the cellars complained that the foundations were not properly cemented, and he who established the foundations said that account was not taken of the conditions of their structure. They finally separated, and each, having become accustomed to the specialty which had been imposed upon him, remained unfit for anything else.”
"I think I understand your apologue; but —"
"But it does not explain to you why a distinction is made between an architect and an engineer. In fact, a good engineer can be a good architect, and vice versa. Engineers make bridges, canals, port works, and so on; but this does not prevent their building lighthouses, shops, factories, and other constructions. Architects should know how to do all these things; they formerly did so, because then the twin brothers were not separated, or rather they were one and the same person. But since this single individuality has been divided, the two halves go each his way.
If the engineers build a bridge, the architects say that it is very ugly, and they are not always wrong. If the architects raise a palace, the engineers exclaim, not without reason, that the materials have been unskilfully employed, without economy, or an exact knowledge of their durable and resisting properties.”
"But why do engineers build bridges which the architects think ugly?"
"Because the question of art has been separated from that of science and calculation by this narrow-minded father, who thought that both could not be held in the same brain.
The architects have been told, ‘You shall be artists: see nothing but form, and busy yourselves only with that.’ The engineers have been told, ‘You will only occupy yourselves with science; you have nothing to do with form: leave that to the artists who dream with their eyes, and are not capable of reasoning.’
This seems strange, I see, to your youthful mind. It is all simply absurd, because the art of architecture is only the consequence of the art of construction; that is, of employing materials according to their qualities or properties, and because the forms of architecture are notoriously derived from this. But, my young friend, as you grow older you will see many other things in our poor country, hampered as it is by routine.”