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Gems of Structural Engg - Gustave Eiffel - (Post-19)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Gems of Structural Engg - Gustave Eiffel - (Post-19) Reply with quote

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel

(1832 1923)

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, was a French engineer and architect, specialist of metallic structures. The name of Eiffel was adopted by one of his German ancestors in the early 18th century, taken from his birthplace Marmagen located in the Eifel, as the French could not pronounce his actual name of Bönickhausen.
Born in Dijon, Côte-d'Or, France, he is most famous for building the Eiffel Tower, built from 1887-1889 for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. It is less well known that he designed the armature for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, USA. He gained his expertise in construction by designing ironwork for bridges such as the Garabit Viaduct.


Up - Drawing before construction (left) and actual structure (right)

Eiffel et Cie., Eiffel's consulting and construction firm with the support of Belguian engineer Téophile Seyrig, participated in an international bid to design and build a 160 m long railway bridge over the Douro river, between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. His proposal was winner because it was a beautiful, transparent, structure, it was the least expensive and incorporated the use of the method of forces, a then novel technique in structure design developed by Maxwell in 1864. The Ponte Maria Pia is conformed by a double hinged arch that supports a single lane railway plate through pillars that reinforced the whole of the bridge. The construction proceeded rather rapidly and the bridge was constructed in less than two years (5 January, 1876 to 4 November, 1877 ), it was inagurated by the by the king D. Luís and the queen D. Maria Pia, after whom it was named. The bridge was utilised until 1991 (114 years) and was replaced by the newer S. John Bridge, a design of engineer Edgar Cardoso.

Gustave Eiffel also designed La Ruche in Paris, that would, like the Eiffel Tower, become a city landmark. A three-storey circular structure that looked more like a large beehive, it was created as a temporary structure for use as a wine rotunda at the Great Exposition of 1900. He constructed the Garabit viaduct, a railroad bridge near Ruynes en Margeride in the Cantal département.
Eiffel's reputation suffered a severe setback when he was implicated in financial scandals round Ferdinand de Lesseps and the entrepreneurs backing the failed French Panama Canal project. Eiffel himself had no connection with the finances, and his guilty judgment was later reversed.

In his later years Eiffel began to study aerodynamics.
Eiffel died on December 27, 1923 (at the age of 91yrs) in his mansion on Rue Rabelais in Paris and was interred in the Cimetière de Levallois-Perret, also in Paris.

References :

- biographies - wikipedia
- Eifel images
- etc.

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