|Fazlur Rahman Khan
ফজলুর রহমান খান
Fazlur Rahman Khan
|Born||3 April 1929
Dhaka, British Raj
|Died||27 March 1982
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
|Education||Bengal Engineering & Science University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Engineering discipline||Architectural, civil, structural|
|Significant design||John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, Hajj Terminal, King Abdulaziz University, One Magnificent Mile, Onterie Center|
|Significant awards||Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Independence Day Award,
AIA Institute Honor for Distinguished Achievement
Fazlur Rahman Khan (Bengali: ফজলুর রহমান খান, Fozlur Rôhman Khan) (3 April 1929 – 27 March 1982) was a Bangladeshi-American structural engineer and architect who initiated important structural systems for skyscrapers. Considered the "father of tubular designs" for high-rises, Khan was also a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD). He was the designer of the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), the tallest building in the world for twenty four years and the 100-story John Hancock Center.
Khan helped usher in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century. He has been called the "Einstein of structural engineering" and the "Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th Century" for his innovative use of structural systems that remain fundamental to modern skyscraper construction. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat established the Fazlur R. Khan lifetime achievement medal in his honor.
Although best known for skyscrapers, Khan was also an active designer of other kinds of structures, including the Hajj airport terminal, the McMath–Pierce solar telescope, and several stadium structures.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Innovations
- 3 Other architectural work
- 4 Life cycle civil engineering
- 5 Computers for structural engineering and architecture
- 6 Structural art
- 7 Professional milestones
- 8 Educator
- 9 Charity
- 10 Death
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Fazlur Rahman Khan was born 3 April 1929 in Dhaka, Bangladesh (then part of British India). He was brought up in the village of Bhandarikandii, in the Faridpur district near Dhaka. His father Abdur was a high school mathematics teacher and textbook author. He eventually became the Director of Public Instruction in the region of Bengal and after retirement served as Principal of Jagannath College, Dhaka.
Khan attended Armanitola Government High School, in Dhaka. After completing undergraduate coursework at the Bengal Engineering College, now Bengal Engineering & Science University, University of Calcutta, he received his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Ahsanullah Engineering College, University of Dhaka, (now Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology). He received a Fulbright Scholarship and a Pakistan government scholarship, which enabled him to travel to the United States in 1952. There he studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In three years Khan earned two Master's degrees — one in structural engineering and one in theoretical and applied mechanics — and a PhD in structural engineering with thesis titled Analytical study of relations among various design criteria for rectangular prestressed concrete beams.
Khan helped introduced design methods and concepts for efficient use of material in building architecture.
In 1955, employed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, he began working in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Several of his early works were focused on designing bridges. He was initially hired to design highway and railroad bridges under the direction of U.S air force academy. He returned briefly to Pakistan in 1957 and won an important position as executive engineer of the Karachi Development Authority. Although the position gave him a great status the administrative work deprived him from the design work which he craved. Thus, he returned to SOM in 1960. He was made a partner in 1966 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1967. During the 1960s and 1970s, he not only designed some of the world's tallest buildings, but introduced new concepts in structural engineering in the process. His work drew worldwide attention to America's innovations in structural engineering for skyscrapers. His skyscrapers, such as the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower have paved the way for ever increasing heights of structural systems. He is also responsible for designing notable buildings in Bangladesh, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
Of his design process, Khan said "When thinking design, I put myself in the place of a whole building, feeling every part. In my mind I visualize the stresses and twisting a building undergoes." He believed that engineers needed a broader perspective on life, saying, "The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people." He said: "Think logically and find the relationships which exist in every system, because it will help you understand nature itself, making living more meaningful and exciting."
Khan's personal papers, the majority of which were in his office at the time of his death, are held by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Fazlur Khan Collection includes manuscripts, sketches, audio cassette tapes, slides and other materials regarding his work.
Khan discovered that the rigid steel frame structure that had dominated tall building design and construction so long was not the only system fitting for tall buildings, marking the beginning of a new era of skyscraper construction.
Tube structural systems
Khan's central innovation in skyscraper design and construction was the idea of the "tube" structural system for tall buildings, including the "framed tube", "trussed tube" and "bundled tube" variations. His "tube concept," using all the exterior wall perimeter structure of a building to simulate a thin-walled tube, revolutionized tall building design. Most buildings over 40-storeys constructed since the 1960s now use a tube design derived from Khan's structural engineering principles.
The tubular designs are for resisting lateral loads (horizontal forces) such as wind forces, seismic forces, etc. The primary important role of structural system for tall Buildings is to resist lateral loads. The lateral loads begin to dominate the structural system and take on increasing importance in the overall building system when the building height increases. Forces of winds become very substantial and forces of earthquake etc. are very important as well. It is the tubular designs that are used for tall buildings to resist such forces. Tube structures are very stiff and have numerous significant advantages over other framing systems. They not only make the buildings structurally stronger and more efficient, they significantly reduce the usage of materials while simultaneously allowing buildings to reach even greater heights. The reduction of material makes the buildings economically much more efficient and reduces environmental issues as it results in the least carbon emission impact on the environment. Tubular systems allow greater interior space and further enable buildings to take on various shapes, offering unprecedented freedom to architects. These new designs opened an economic door for contractors, engineers, architects, and investors, providing vast amounts of real estate space on minimal plots of land. Khan was among a group of engineers who encouraged a rebirth in skyscrapers construction after a hiatus for over thirty years.
The tubular systems have yet to reach their limit when it comes to height. Another important feature of the tubular systems is that buildings can be constructed using steel or reinforced concrete, or a composite of the two to reach greater heights. Khan pioneered the use of lightweight concrete for high-rise buildings, at a time when reinforced concrete was utilized primarily for low-rise construction of only a few stories in height. Most of Khan's designs were conceived considering pre-fabrication and repetition of components so projects could be quickly built with minimal errors.
The population explosion, beginning with the baby boom of the 1950s, created widespread concern about the amount of available living space. Khan had the solution — building up. More than any other 20th-century engineer, Fazlur Rahman Khan made it possible for people to live, and work in “cities in the sky.” Mark Sarkisian (Director of Structural and Seismic Engineering at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) said, "Khan was a visionary who transformed skyscrapers into sky cities while staying firmly grounded in the fundamentals of engineering."
Khan's initial projects were the 43 stories DeWitt-Chestnut (1964) and 35 stories Brunswick Building (1965). His most important projects were the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower.
Since 1963, the new structural system of framed tubes became highly influential in skyscraper design and construction. Khan defined the framed tube structure as "a three dimensional space structure composed of three, four, or possibly more frames, braced frames, or shear walls, joined at or near their edges to form a vertical tube-like structural system capable of resisting lateral forces in any direction by cantilevering from the foundation." Closely spaced interconnected exterior columns form the tube. Horizontal loads, for example from wind and earthquakes, are supported by the structure as a whole. About half the exterior surface is available for windows. Framed tubes allow fewer interior columns, and so create more usable floor space. The bundled tube structure is more efficient for tall buildings, lessening the penalty for height. The structural system also allows the interior columns to be smaller and the core of the building to be free of braced frames or shear walls that use valuable floor space. Where larger openings like garage doors are required, the tube frame must be interrupted, with transfer girders used to maintain structural integrity.
The first building to apply the tube-frame construction was the DeWitt-Chestnut Apartments building that Khan designed and was completed in Chicago in 1963. This laid the foundations for the framed tube structure used in the construction of the World Trade Center.
Trussed tube and X-bracing
Khan pioneered several other variations of the tube structure design. One of these was the concept of applying X-bracing to the exterior of the tube to form a "trussed tube". X-bracing reduces the lateral load on a building by transferring the load into the exterior columns, and the reduced need for interior columns provides a greater usable floor space. Khan first employed exterior X-bracing on his design of the John Hancock Center in 1965, and this can be clearly seen on the building's exterior, making it an architectural icon.
In contrast to earlier steel-frame structures, such as the Empire State Building (1931), which required about 206 kilograms of steel per square meter and Chase Manhattan Bank Building (1961), which required around 275 kilograms of steel per square meter, the John Hancock Center was far more efficient, requiring only 145 kilograms of steel per square meter. The trussed tube concept was applied to many later skyscrapers, including the Onterie Center, Citigroup Center and Bank of China Tower.
One of Khan's most important variations of the tube structure concept was the "bundled tube," which he used for the Sears Tower and One Magnificent Mile. The bundle tube design was not only the most efficient in economic terms, but it was also "innovative in its potential for versatile formulation of architectural space. Efficient towers no longer had to be box-like; the tube-units could take on various shapes and could be bundled together in different sorts of groupings."
Tube in tube
Tube-in-tube system takes advantage of core shear wall tubes in addition to exterior tubes. The inner tube and outer tube work together to resist gravity loads and lateral loads and to provide additional rigidity to the structure to prevent significant deflections at the top. This design was first used in One Shell Plaza. Later buildings to utilize this structural system include the Petronas Tower.
Outrigger and belt truss
The outrigger and belt truss system is a lateral load resisting system in which the tube structure is connected to the central core wall with very stiff outriggers and belt trusses at one or more levels. BHP House was the first building to utilize this structural system followed by US Bank Center. The US Bank Center rises 601 feet, with three belt trusses at the bottom, middle and top of the building. The exposed belt trusses serve for both aesthetic and structural purposes. Later buildings to utilize this include Shanghai World Financial Center.
Concrete tube structures
The last major buildings engineered by Khan were the One Magnificent Mile and Onterie Center in Chicago, which employed his bundled tube and trussed tube system designs respectively. In contrast to his earlier buildings, which were mainly steel, his last two buildings were concrete. His earlier DeWitt-Chestnut Apartments building, built in 1963 in Chicago, was also a concrete building with a tube structure. Trump Tower in New York City is also another example that adapted this system.
Shear wall frame interaction system
Khan developed the shear wall frame interaction system for mid high-rise buildings. This structural system uses combinations of shear walls and frames designed to resist lateral forces. The first building to utilize this structural system was the 35-stories Brunswick Building. The Brunswick building was completed in 1965 and became the tallest reinforce concrete structure of its time. The structural system of Brunswick Building consists of a concrete shear wall core surrounded by an outer concrete frame of columns and spandrels. Apartment buildings up to 70 stories high have successfully utilized this concept.
Khan's seminal work of developing tall building structural systems are still used today as the starting point when considering design options for tall buildings. Tube structures have since been used in many skyscrapers, including the construction of the World Trade Center, Aon Centre, Petronas Towers, Jin Mao Building, Bank of China Tower and most other buildings in excess of 40 stories constructed since the 1960s. The strong influence of tube structure design is also evident in the world's current tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. According to Stephen Bayley of The Daily Telegraph:
Khan invented a new way of building tall. [...] So Fazlur Khan created the unconventional skyscraper. Reversing the logic of the steel frame, he decided that the building's external envelope could – given enough trussing, framing and bracing – be the structure itself. This made buildings even lighter. The "bundled tube" meant buildings no longer need be boxlike in appearance: they could become sculpture. Khan's amazing insight – he was name-checked by Obama in his Cairo University speech last year – changed both the economics and the morphology of supertall buildings. And it made Burj Khalifa possible: proportionately, Burj employs perhaps half the steel that conservatively supports the Empire State Building. [...] Burj Khalifa is the ultimate expression of his audacious, lightweight design philosophy.
Other architectural work
Khan designed several notable structures that are not skyscrapers. Examples include the Hajj terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport, completed in 1981, which consists of tent-like roofs that are folded up when not in use. The terminal's structure has been made to adapt to the harsh desert conditions. The tent-like tensile structures advanced the theory and technology of fabric as a structural material and led the way to its use for other types of terminals and large spaces. The King Abdulaziz International Airport received several awards, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which described it as an "outstanding contribution to architecture for Muslims".
Another notable project was the Baxter company's headquarters in Deerfield. The building contains a large dining hall, auditorium and training center. The client wanted a large column free space. So Khan and Graham developed the cable stayed roof system. The long span suspended roof is supported by steel cables in direct tension thus providing a large space uninterrupted by columns.
Life cycle civil engineering
Khan and Mark Fintel conceived ideas of "shock absorbing soft-story" concept, for protecting structures from abnormal loading, particularly strong earthquakes and storms, over a long period of time. This concept was a precursor to the widely accepted seismic isolation systems used today. The structures are designed to behave naturally during earthquakes where traditional concepts of material ductility are replaced by mechanisms that allow for movement during ground shaking while protecting material elasticity. The International Association for Life Cycle Civil Engineering named their Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal after Khan.
Computers for structural engineering and architecture
In the 1970s, engineers were just beginning to use computer structural analysis on a large scale. SOM was at the center of these new developments, with undeniable contributions from Khan. Graham and Khan lobbied SOM partners to purchase a mainframe computer, a risky investment at a time when new technologies were just beginning to take shape. The partners agreed, and Khan began programming the system to calculate structural engineering equations and, later on, to develop architectural drawings.
Khan is a central figure behind the "Second Chicago School" of architecture. His clear approaches to structural systems have often led to expressive structures. Khan said, "A building’s natural strength should be expressed." Khan did not believe a building should be decorated with granite slabs, or aluminum sheets. For Khan, elegance was not ornamentation, but an expression of structure. The John Hancock Center, with enormous exposed X-braces, is an example. The building uses structural design for aesthetic expression. The Willis Tower is also another example; the simplicity helps demonstrate the structural system, as the lack of decoration instead features the tubular construction. To khan, 'for architectural design to reach its highest levels it had to be grounded in structural realities'.
List of buildings
Buildings on which Khan was structural engineer include:
- DeWitt-Chestnut Apartments, Chicago, 1963
- Brunswick Building, Chicago, 1965
- John Hancock Center, Chicago, 1965–1969
- One Shell Square, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1972
- 140 William Street (formerly BHP House), Melbourne, 1972
- Sears Tower, Chicago, 1970–1973
- U.S. Bank Center, Milwaukee, 1973
- Hajj Terminal, King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, 1974–1980
- King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 1977–1978
- Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1982
- One Magnificent Mile, Chicago, completed 1983
- Onterie Center, Chicago, completed 1986
- United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Awards and chair
Among Khan's other accomplishments, he received the Wason Medal (1971) and Alfred Lindau Award (1973) from the American Concrete Institute (ACI); the Thomas Middlebrooks Award (1972) and the Ernest Howard Award (1977) from ASCE; the Kimbrough Medal (1973) from the American Institute of Steel Construction; the Oscar Faber medal (1973) from the Institution of Structural Engineers, London; the International Award of Merit in Structural Engineering (1983) from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering IABSE; the AIA Institute Honor for Distinguished Achievement (1983) from the American Institute of Architects; and the John Parmer Award (1987) from Structural Engineers Association of Illinois and Illinois Engineering Hall of Fame from Illinois Engineering Council (2006).
Khan was cited five times by Engineering News-Record as among those who served the best interests of the construction industry, and in 1972 he was honored with ENR's Man of the Year award. In 1973 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He received Honorary Doctorates from Northwestern University, Lehigh University, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat named the Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal after him, and other awards have been established in his honor, along with a chair at Lehigh University. Promoting educational activities and research, the Fazlur Rahman Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture honors Khan's legacy of engineering advancement and architectural sensibility.
In 1961 architect Myron Goldsmith invited Khan to teach at Illinois Institute of Technology. Khan became an adjunct professor, teaching structures to architecture students and serving as co-adviser on master’s thesis projects. He would often work there late at night. Khan’s design ideas often came from his teaching and advising students.
He was the chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat from 1979 until his death. Khan was active beyond engineering in his community. For many years, he served on the board of trustees for the condominium development in Chicago where he lived. He was a member of advisory committee of the Aga Khan program for Islamic architecture at Harvard university and MIT.
He published more than 75 technical papers in engineering and architectural journals on topics relating to the analysis, design, and construction of complex structures.
In 1971 the Bangladesh liberation war broke out. Khan was heavily involved with creating public opinion and garnering emergency funding for Bengali people during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. He created the Chicago-based organisation known as Bangladesh Emergency Welfare Appeal.
Khan died of a heart attack on 27 March 1982 while on a trip in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the age of 52. He was the general partner in SOM, the only engineer holding that high position at the time. His body was returned to the United States and was buried in Chicago.
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- Fazlur Rahman Khan Distinguished Lecture Series
- Fazlur khan lifetime achievement medal
- Fazlur R. Khan Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal
- Letter from Bill Clinton
- Letter from Governor Jim Edgar recognizing Fazlur Khan
- Honorary Fazlur R. Khan Way
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- Exhibition at Princeton University
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