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Late Prof. Mario Salvadori - Architect, Engineer-Columbia Un

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Late Prof. Mario Salvadori - Architect, Engineer-Columbia Un Reply with quote

Mario Salvadori, Architect, Engineer    ario G. Salvadori, the renowned Columbia professor who worked to link the fields of structural engineering and architecture and served as a consultant on the Manhattan Project, died of natural causes on June 25 at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was 90.

Prof. Salvadori was also the author of 10 well-respected textbooks, including Structural Design in Architecture (1967),Why Buildings Stand Up (1980), Why Buildings Fall Down (1992), and Why The Earth Quakes (1995) and five books on applied mathematics (including Numerical Methods in Engineering, (1953). The books
Why Buildings Stand Up and Why Buildings Fall Down continue to be best-sellers, even now.

In 1993, Prof. Salvadori became the first engineer to receive the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education from the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture in 1993. Salvadori is also known for his translation of da Vinci's notebooks into English and of Emily Dickinson's poems into Italian. He had taught at Columbia since 1940, and, at the time of his death, was the James Renwick Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Architecture Emeritus.

"Aside from being a brilliant mathematician and an outstanding engineer whose office was considered an ideal training ground for young engineers, Prof. Mario Salvadori was also a charismatic teacher of structures at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University," said Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia. "With his boundless engineering knowledge and deep sense of public commitment, he made a unique and wide-ranging contribution to both the University and to society at large. He will be greatly missed."

He also was the founder and chairman of the Salvadori Educational Center on the Built Environment (SECBE), a non-profit educational center at the City College of New York dedicated to helping inner-city youth appreciate science and mathematics through a hands-on study of bridges and other structures.

He was born in Rome, Italy in 1907. His father, an engineer who worked for the telephone company, became the chief engineer of the city of Genoa when the phone company merged with their French counterpart. Salvadori's father later became the head of the gas and electric company in Spain. As a consequence, Salvadori spent many years of his youth in Madrid and only returned to Italy in 1923. He earned doctoral degrees in both civil engineering and mathematics from the University of Rome in 1930 and 1933 respectively. The next two years he did graduate research in Photo-elasticity at University College in London. Subsequently, he returned to Rome, where he served as an instructor at the University of Rome. Salvadori left Italy in 1938 for New York at the recommendation of his teacher and friend, Enrico Fermi.

He first worked for Lionel Train Company until 1940, developing time and motion studies that so impressed the president that he was made an offer to become CEO (which he turned down). After the war, he took up teaching at Columbia University. He taught there for 50 years.

Soon after joining the faculty at Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, he worked on the Manhattan Project (during World War II-1942-45) and was appointed to the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 1959. He began his affiliation with Weidlinger Associates, Inc., the Manhattan engineering firm, as a consultant in 1954, and rose to the positions of partner, chairman of the board, and finally, Honorary Chairman.

As he reached retirement as a professor at Columbia, he began volunteering to work with under-privileged minority students from inner-city New York public schools. Developing a hands-on method of teaching kids about the built environment and basic architectural concepts, he was able to reach out to thousands of students and teachers, giving them an appreciation of the usefulness of mathematics and science. In 1987 he founded the Salvadori Educational Center on the Built Environment (since renamed the Salvadori Center), a non-profit educational center on the campus of City College of New York which uses the "city as classroom" to help teachers and students master the core subject areas in their curricula.

As a structural engineer, Salvadori became known for the design of thin concrete shells as he strove to create great architecture in all of his projects.

Prof. Salvadori was awarded the Founders Award from the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, the Hoover Medal (a joint award of five engineering societies) from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1993, Columbia awarded him an honorary doctor of science degree in 1978 and the Pupin Medal for outstanding service to the nation in architecture and engineering in 1991. The New School for Social Research awarded him an honorary degree in fine arts, also in 1991.

Prof. Salvadori is survived by his wife, Carol, sons Vieri Salvadori and Michael Kazan, daughters-in-law Rebecca Szabo and Beth Horowitz, and three grandchildren.  
1. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/record/23/02/28.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Salvadori

You may also download articles to know more about Prof. Salvadori and his works from:
1. http://www.salvadori.org/library/documents/mariostructuremag.pdf

Those who are interested to teach school students about Buildings must visit the following link: http://www.salvadori.org/. I recommend each one of you to visit this site and see the many interesting animations. Prof. Salvadori was really a great teacher! Hats off to him!


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