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Emerging structural wonders of the new century

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:55 pm    Post subject: Emerging structural wonders of the new century Reply with quote

Emerging structural wonders of the new century
Structural Engineering & Design, January 2010 » Columns » THE VIEW FROM HERE

By Richard G.Weingardt, P.E.
John A. Martin, Jr., of John A. Martin and Associates was the structural engineer for Walt Disney Concert hall in Los Angeles.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith
Brendon McNiven, of Arup designed Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, located in Singapore.
Evelyn Weingardt

Throughout the ages, structural engineering has always been a noble and creative profession. It is the reason we have all the structural marvels and systems we do — soaring bridges, towering skyscrapers, space-age-looking buildings and magical giant machines able to move. Virtually all of the historic Seven Wonders of the World, from ancient times thru the Middle Ages to modern days, from the pyramids to Hoover Dam and beyond, were then and still are structural engineering feats. Without the expertise and talents of structural engineers the performance of these buildings and structures would never have reached their maximum potential.

Similarly, the first decade of the 21st century saw the debut of many innovative structures that will surely join the ranks of these monuments considered wonders of the world. Representative of them are the Millau Bridge in France designed by Michel Virlogeux; Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates by structural engineer William F. Baker, P.E., S.E., of Skidmore Owings Merrill LLC; Singapore Flyer in Singapore; and Disney Art Museum in the United States. They, along with many others of like grandeur, suggest a very promising future for structural engineers and the profession. They also advocate that there will be many exciting and challenging projects to be built in the coming decades.

Even though many noteworthy 21st century structures such as the above will end up spotlighted as great marvels, it doesn’t follow that the structural engineers responsible will be given their due credit for their part. Rather, the United States engineering community must take it on as a high priority to be considerably more diligent and aggressive than it has been in the past making sure its members are recognized for all their works — past, present, and future. It is a very positive way to keep the public aware of the significance of structural achievements. It also serves as a catalyst to excite bright young people, the lifeblood of any profession, about becoming great engineers and designers.

Richard G. Weingardt, P.E., is CEO and chairman of Richard Weingardt Consultants, Inc., a Denver-based structural engineering firm. He can be reached via e-mail at rweingardt@gostructural.com.

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