Structural Engineering

Architecture and Engineering: Gehry, Schlaich, Calatrava, Virlogeux

Learning Objectives: Learn about the methods of form finding in A&E; Schlaich's invention with cables; Equilibrium an novel structural forms; Virlogeux's forms and innovations

Keywords: cable net, footbridge, titanium, efficiency, elegance, movable bridge, girder bridge, arch bridge, verticals

Baker, Khan and the SOM Tradition of Structural Art in Buildings

Description: Themes: Second Chicago School: Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, and Fazlur Khan; Collaboration in tall building design at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; Khan's evolution of form for steel tall buildings.

Cable-Stayed Bridges - History, Aesthetics, and Developments

Learning Objectives: Learn about the history, aesthetics, and development of cable-stayed (CS) bridges; contrasting them with suspension bridges; challenges and solutions in multi-span CS bridges

Keywords: cable-stayed bridges, pylon, deck, cable, load path, cable system, tension, compression,...

Chicago and the Birth of the Skyscraper

Learning Objectives: Conditions that give rise to innovation in structure, engineering role of structural innovation in the skyscrabper, the birth of the steel 'skeletal' skyscraper form, structural art of buildings

Keywords: buttress, moment frame, braced frame, knee braced/arched, lateral, wind


Eads, Eiffel and the Forth Bridge (19th century iron and steel bridges)

Keywords: statics, teamwork, quiz, moment, balance, load path, tension, compression, free body diagrams, equilibrium, eiffel tower, cantilever bridge

Earthquakes and Ethics

Description: Themes: Earthquake loads as an element to consider in the lateral design of tall buildings; Techniques employed to mitigate effects of earthquakes; Ethical question of addressing a significant design flaw in an occupied building; Ethical question of designing structures that are publically funded.

Eiffel's Bridges, Eads Bridge, and Baker's Firth of Forth Bridge

Description: Themes: Gustave Eiffel, James Eads, and Benjamin Baker as structural artists; Relationship between form and forces in a structure; Understanding the types of loads structures carry.

Engineering Critique

Learning Objectives: 1. Prepare students for writing their civil engineering critique essay. 2. Explore the art of persuasion. 3. Practice crafting thesis statements. 4. Emphasize ASCE reference format. 5. Go over details of essay assignment.

Keywords: engineering critique, technical writing, thesis...

Fazlur Khan and Concrete Buildings

Description: Themes: Second Chicago School: Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, and Fazlur Khan; Collaboration in tall building design at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; Khan's evolution of form for concrete tall buildings.

Félix Candela and the Hyperbolic Paraboloid

Description: Themes: Félix Candela's evolution as a structural artist; Imitation and innovation of observed thin-shell forms; From master builder to structural artist.

Finding Forms: Laurent Ney

Description: Themes: Historical context: post-World War II desire for European integration and the European Coal and Steel Community; Laurent Ney's exploration with different forms and development into a structural artist. Ney's major works of structural art

Freyssinet, Finsterwalder and Fallingwater - Origins and Solutions in Prestressed Concrete

Learning Objectives: Learn about the origins of prestressed concrete (PC) and Fressinet's story; Finsterwalder's advancements in PC bridges; Precast PC and America's Walnut Lane Bridge; Fallingwater, a historic preservation enabled through PC

Green Buildings and Sustainability

Learning Objectives: Focus on buildings as energy consumers; learn the historical techniques for passive ventilation and Hassan Fathy; learn about green roofs and how they moderate temperature and rainwater conservation; Kenneth Yeang's green skyscraper

Heinz Isler and "Natural" Forms for Shells

Description: Themes: Heinz Isler as a master builder and structural artist; Emphasis on "natural" forms: pneumatic, hanging, extrusion/flow; Isler's masterpieces: uninterrupted thin shell structures.

High, Wide, and Far

Learning Objectives: To look at what the future has in store with regards to structural art and see how everything is evolving

Keywords: future, skyscraper, structural system, limits, economic, symbolic, critic, suspension bridge, dead load ratio, stiffness, elements, features, roles, limits, stress,...

History and Aesthetics in Suspension Bridges (Othmar Ammann, NYC Bridges, 20th century bridge engineering)

Keywords: suspension bridge, aesthetics, stiffness, deck, support forms, cables, scientific function, structural elements, tension, compression, FBD, safety factor


Introduction to Structural Art

Major structural forms, Materials, Historical impact of industrial revolution, Types of structures, Defining structural art, Evolution of structural artists

John A. Roebling and the Design of Suspension Bridges

Keywords: suspension bridge, aesthetics, stiffness, deck, support forms, cables, scientific, social, symbolic


Khan and the (Chicago) Skyscraper

Learning Objectives: Learn about the tension between architectural and structural expression in buildings, Fazlur Khan's expression of structure in buildings, stiffness in skyscrapers

Keywords: skyscraper, architectural expression, structural expression, stiffness, load path, lateral force, bracing,...

New Bridge Forms: Christian Menn

Description: Themes: Pierre Lardy's mentorship of Christian Menn; Menn's improvement on Maillart's designs using newfound knowledge of prestressed concrete; Menn's evolution of form in the Feslenau, Ganter and Sunniberg Bridges.

New Bridge Forms: Jörg Schlaich and his Team

Description: Themes: Post World War II German bridge forms; Back-anchored and self-anchored suspension bridges; Structural honesty in design: forms derived from their structural behavior; Discipline and play: play as an exploration of varied structural forms.

New Bridge Forms: Maillart and Menn

Learning Objectives: Learn about the hollow box arch after Salginatobel; the bridges by Menn and Maillart's influence; Menn's long span (hollow box girder) arches; prestressing and deck-stiffening; the Ganter Bridge; Menn's cable-stayed bridges

Keywords: hollow box arch, long span arch, prestressed...

New Building Forms of Dieste & Isler

Learning Objectives: Learn about the contrast of structural discipline and play; new material of Dieste's prestressed thin shell brick; Isler's thin shells, pneumatic shells, experimental discipline, free form furnicular shapes, and ice shells

New York and the Skyscraper

Learning Objectives: Learn about the role of code and zoning regulations, about modern NYC skyscrapers, architecture, and structure.

Keywords: protoskyscraper, skyscraper, transfer girder, transfer system, gravity, load path, tension, compression, connections, bridging

Othmar Ammann and the Bayonne Bridge and George Washington Bridge

Description: Themes: Historical Context: the development of Othmar Ammann as a structural artist; Wilhem Ritter and Gustave Lindenthal's influence on Ammann; Two of New York's significant bridges: The Bayonne and Goerge Washington bridges.

Pier Luigi Nervi and the Italian Tradition of Ribbed Vaults

Description: Themes: Pier Luigi Nervi's use of rib-patterned shells; Pre-cast concrete elments and ferrocement in Nervi's structures.

Robert Maillart and the Origins of Reinforced Concrete

Learning Objectives: Learn about new materials and new structural forms; the scientific functions of reinforced concrete and the 3-hinged arch; the evolution of form in the concrete hollow box arches of RM; bending moments and the form of the Salginatobel Bridge

Roof Vaults and National Styles

Learning Objectives: Learn about roof vault approaches in various countries; economy of labor vs efficiency of materials; complexity of analysis vs. complexity of form; concrete shells and stiffness

Keywords: curvature, stiffness, roof, one direction, strength, roof vault, rib, double curvature, form,...

Structural Comparisons - Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower

Telford, Brunel and British Metal Forms (1780's to 1880's British Structural Engineering)

Keywords: cast iron, acqueduct, cast iron, arch, bridge, wrought iron, suspension bridge


The Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument

Description: The Social (Social Sciences), Symbolic (Humanities), and the Scientific (Engineering/Math/Physics) are all explored when we attempt to learn more about critique the built world. In comparing two memorial monuments in two cities there can be seen many similarities, but also some key differences.

The German vs. Spanish Tradition of Thin-Shell Roof Forms

Description: Themes: Origins of thin concrete vaulted forms in Germany and the US; Mathematical versus experience driven thin shell construction; Franz Dischinger, Ulrich Finsterwalder, and Anton Tedesko; Right form versus wrong form in thin-shell construction.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Description: Themes: Conceptual development for the design of the Golden Gate Bridge; Social story of the Golden Gate bridge; Joseph Strauss' role in the construction of the bridge; Charles Anton Ellis, Leon Moissieff, and Othmar Ammann as consultants of design and construction.

The Gothic Cathedral and the Skyscraper

Description: Themes: Crafted versus engineered construction; Structura generations form versus aesthetics generates form; Parallels between the Gothic Catehdral and the early tall buildings.

The Origins of Prestressing: Freyssinet, Magnel, and Finsterwalder

Description: Themes: Evolution of prestressed concrete from reinforced concrete; Eugene Freyssinet's study of large-span reinforced concrete arches and concrete ""creep""; Gustave Magnel's Sclayn Bridge and Walnut Lane Bridge; Ulrich Finsterwalder takes prestressed concrete to a new level with Mangfall Bridge and the cantilever...

The Origins of Reinforced Concrete: Robert Maillart

Description: Themes: Role of reinforced concrete in Robert Maillart's famous works; Maillart's early evolution of form: Stauffacher, Zuoz, Tavanasa, and Salginatobel bridges; Maillart's process of improvement on his structures throughout his career.

The Origins of Structural Art: Telford, Brunel, and British Metal Forms

Description: Themes: Historical context for the beginning of structural engineering as a discipline; Thomas Telford and his works; Early evolution of building material.

The Politics of the Art of Spanish Bridge Design

Description: Themes: The influence of the economic and political climate on engineering works; The dangers of the Bilbao effect and the importance of socially responsible design; Flow of forces in a tied arch bridge and a cable stayed bridge; Characteristics of a bridge hero; The roles of discipline and play in successful...

The Swiss Tradition of Bridge Design (deck stiffened arches)

Learning Objectives: Learn about the excellence in bridge innovation and how the Swiss approached it; Ritter's research, teaching, and role in Maillart's arches; the constructional evolution of the deck-stiffened arch using Maillart's approach and how they relate to structural art; Maillart's arches vs. USA arches and optimal...

Wind, Suspension Bridges, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Description: Themes: Elastic and deflection theory in long-span suspension bridges; Lessons of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge failure; Historical perspective in designing new works of structural engineering.