Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

The Art of Structural Design: A Swiss Legacy

09/17/2004 6:00 PM 10-250
David P. Billington, Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor of Engineering; Princeton University;

Description: Bridges serve a utilitarian purpose, but they should also please the eye. David P. Billington celebrates an influential group of Swiss structural engineers who forged a tradition of bridge-building in the 20th century that united form and function with unprecedented grace. His lecture describes the offerings of an exhibit at the MIT Museum that showcases the works of Robert Maillart (1872-1940), Othmar Ammann (1879-1965), Heinz Isler (b. 1926), and Christian Menn (b. 1927). These architects, inspired by masterful teachers of the Zurich Federal Institute of Technology, first honed their exacting designs in the rugged mountains of Switzerland, and then branched out to the rest of the world. Billington describes Maillart's iconic, 1930 Salginatobel Bridge, high in the Alps, which improves on old Roman bridge designs using a 3-hinged arch and reinforced concrete. He toasts Ammann's Verrazzano Narrows and George Washington Bridges as well as Menn's very recent Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. Billington believes these are structures that will "outlast all our lives, enrich the environment and not desecrate it."

About the Speaker(s): David P. Billington has written several books on Robert Maillart's work as well as on other aspects of structural engineering. Billington was a Fulbright Fellow, and won the 1992 George Winter Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has consulted for the State of Maryland on bridge design and for the State of New Jersey on highway accidents. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineering, among other professional affiliations. He has taught at Princeton since 1960.

Host(s): Office of the Provost, MIT Museum

Tape #: T18957

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated 6 months ago

Created
December 12, 2011 19:18
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
4356 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

If the World is Flat, What are we Still Doing in Cambridge?

If the World is Flat, What are we S...

Added over 4 years ago | 00:59:22 | 3683 views

Computers with Commonsense: Artificial Intelligence at the MIT Round Table

Computers with Commonsense: Artific...

Added over 4 years ago | 00:50:49 | 11520 views

Why History Matters: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Why History Matters: International ...

Added over 4 years ago | 01:36:00 | 14366 views

Evolution: From the Fossil Record to Genomic Revolution Probing the Origin of the Planets from Spacecraft

Evolution: From the Fossil Record t...

Added over 4 years ago | 01:12:00 | 4080 views

The Future of Civic Engagement in a Broadband"Enabled World

The Future of Civic Engagement in a...

Added over 4 years ago | 00:35:08 | 8760 views

The Story Is Mightier than the Data

The Story Is Mightier than the Data

Added over 4 years ago | 00:27:14 | 2311 views