Chicago: Not many people could remember his birthday today. A Khan from Bangladesh being known for his structural designing expertise is something hard to believe. But this Khan was one of the best structural designers not just in the US, but around the world, and many US high-rises could be built only because of him and his designing that was much ahead of the time.
Dr. Fazlur Rahman Khan’s 88’th birth anniversary would have passed without many noticing it, but for Google. The ubiquitous Google Doodle forced us from our forgetfulness and remember the man who was among the best of the best in his field.
Fazlur Rahman Khan was the man who designed and led the construction of Chicago’s Sears Tower, known today as the Willis Tower.
Fazlur Rahman Khan’s innovative expertise in structural engineering can be gauged by his own idea of tube structural design. This method helped him design tall buildings with unmatched safety record. His idea to design a building was to be supported by its facade, rather than the concrete and steel on the inside.
It is said that for the massive John Hancock Center, which was designed in 1965, Khan actually used a “trussed tube” structural system that broke from the usual techniques for designing tall buildings at the time. The design gave the 100-story John Hancock Center its distinctive X-brace along the exterior.
Fazlur Rahman Khan’s daughter, Yasmin Sabina Khan says, “A humanitarian in his personal as well as professional life, he was inspired by the belief that his work had a positive impact and he encouraged other engineers not to lose track of the purpose of their profession” Yasmin who is the author of Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan, while talking to Google said, “When he was named Construction’s Man of the Year, he reflected, ‘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.’”
Born in Dhaka in the year 1929, Fazlur Rahman Khan was actually called the “Einstein of structural engineering”. He passed away rather prematurely at the peak of his professional career and success on March 27, 1982 at age 52. He was in Saudi Arabia, probably on pilgrimage, when he passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest.
Most famous Fazlur Rahman quote
“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.”
― Fazlur Khan