History of Innovation

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2012: Walney Wind Farm

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Innovation:  Walney Wind Farm
Location: offshore, West Coast U.K.
Year:  2012
By: Walney Offshore Windfarms Limited

Walney Wind Farm is an offshore wind farm located about 14 km west of Walney Island in the Irish Sea. Its capacity of 367 megawatts makes it one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world. It was the largest until the Greater Gabbard Wind farm was finished in September of 2012, with a capacity of 504 megawatts. The Walney wind farm will cover an area of about 73 square kilometers and the water depths range from 19 to 23 meters. Split into two phases with overlapping installation activities to reduce the amount of time required for construction.[1]

Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2012 at 5:57 am

2011: Agua Caliente Solar Project

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Image Sources: [1], [2]

Innovation:  Agua Caliente Solar Project
Location: Yuma County, Arizona
Year:  2011
By: NRG Solar and U.S. Department of Energy

The Agua Caliente Solar Project is a photovoltaic solar generating facility currently under construction in Yuma County, Arizona. The project was commissioned in 2011 and to date 247 megawatts are online since the 10th section was completed. Peak output of the currently installed panels has reached up to 251.3 megawatts. The expected maximum capacity of the plant is expected to be approximately 397 megawatts with an annual generation of 626 gigawatt hours. The project is currently (2012) the largest solar power plant in the world. [2].  It funds approximately 400 construction jobs and 16 full time operating jobs. [1]  `

Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2011 at 6:17 am

2010: Alta Wind Energy Center

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Innovation:  Alta Wind Energy Center
Location: Kern County, CA
Year:  2010
By: Terra-Gen Power

Alta Wind Energy Center is a wind farm located near the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, California. It has a combined installed capacity of 1020 MW and a maximum capacity of 3000 MW, but its annual production is approximately 1,690 MW, making it the largest wind farm in the United States.[1] The Center could generate energy for 600,000 homes in the Southern California area, and in 2006, before construction even started, Southern California Edison agreed to but 1,550 megawatts over 25 years, which is one of the largest power purchase agreements ever. [2]

 

Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2010 at 6:12 am

Posted in Energy, Sustainability

2009: AutoCAD 2010 with parametrics introduced

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Innovation:  AutoCAD2010 with parametrics introduced
Location: California, USA
Year:  2009
By: AutoDesk

AutoCAD 2010 was important to Architectural Engineers because of a new feature introduced called parametric drawing. Parametric drawing allows the user to program constraints to lines. These constraints could include, but aren’t limited to:  staying the same length as another line, staying parallel or perpendicular to another line, or staying connected to a certain point on a shape. Constraints can be very useful in helping to meet the design requirements. [1]

Written by David Lukert

October 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

2008: Masdar City – Masdar, United Arab Emirates

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Image Source: 1 2

Innovation:  Masdar City (first/only zero-carbon zero-waste city)
Location: Masdar, UAE
Year:  2008-2025
Architect: Foster and Partners

Masdar is a planned city located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, targeted to rely entirely on renewable energy sources with a sustainable zero carbon zero waste ecology [1]. The city consists of 2.3 square miles of homes and businesses for 50,000 residents with 60,000 daily commuters budgeted at US$19.8 billion. The intent for the city was to become a central location for cleantech companies and model of inspiration for a future energy conscience world. Masdar will accomplish its energy goals through the use of one of the first 40-60 megawatt solar power plant (Conergy), rooftop solar panels, wind farms, waste incineration, and hydrogen power plant [2]. A solar powered desalination plant supplies the water needs, recycling approximately 80% of water. Masdar City was designed and operated to provide the highest (healthiest) quality of life with the lowest environmental footprint. It is a global center of future energy. [3]  `

Web links: 123
Video: Masdar City

Written by Charys Clay

October 8, 2008 at 11:29 pm

2007: Global Warming Recognized

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Discovery:  Global Warming Recognized
Year:  2007
By:  United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Global warming is the increase of average temperature in Earth’s atmosphere occurring since the late 19th century.  In 2007 the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the Fourth Assessment Report acknowledging that global warming is occurring.  The report summarized a climate model consisting of a predicted increased global surface temperature of 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius by the 21st century, depending on the release of greenhouse gas emissions. Consequences of global warming have included increase in sea level, broadening of subtropical deserts, and change in precipitation. UNFCCC was formed to propose policy changes to reduce the release of greenhouse gases.

Currently nonprofit organizations such as Architecture 2030 exist to establish a response to this phenomenon by setting goals to reduce climate changing release of greenhouse gases by the Building Sector through the development process of planning designing and construction [1]. In addition, market driven programs such as LEED provide owners with a framework for creating green building designs, construction, and operations. These organizations help lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce landfill waste, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, etc [2]. Because The building sector accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S, it is now considered vital that buildings be made efficiently [3]. [4]. `

Web links to more info about global warming’s impact on the building sector: 123, 4
Video: President Obama on Climate Change
Introduction to LEED Certification
Energy Effiecient Building

Written by Charys Clay

October 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm

2007: Digital Project

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Image Source: 1 2

Innovation:  Digital Project (software)
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Year:  2007
By: Gehry Technologies

The design of the Bilbao Guggenheim museum was a collaboration between Frank Ghery (architect) and SOM(engineering), utilizing a customized version of Catia (3D aerospace software) which has eventually been packaged as Digital Project.  After the successful development of a solution to describing and designing such complex geometries, architect Frank Ghery decided to create a branch of his office called Ghery Technologies, to offer design services and sales of a software product (Digital Project) specifically for projects with complex geometries.

Digital Project is a design platform with Computer Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application V5 capability that was developed by Gehry Technologies in 2007. It is used to design and document architectural projects with complex geometries.  Various AutoCAD and Revit editions were the most common forms of 3d modeling software used before Digital Project, but once DP was released it posed as a direct 3dCAD competitor in the architecture market. New and different components to the software included the visual interface, cost estimation tool, advanced parametric control of curved 3D objects, and, in contrast to CAD, DP provided the option of information to be sent directly to the manufacturer [1]. By avoiding loss of time in unnecessary processing and improving collaboration, DP improved the design process. Today Gehry Technologies offers three forms of DP, Designer, Viewer, and an extensions package. The Designer and Extensions package together posses the tools to create architecture designs in addition to MEP systems/routing all with a single form of software [2]. [3]  `

Web links to more info about Digital Project: 12,
Video: Frank Gehry talks about Digital Project

Written by Charys Clay

October 7, 2007 at 9:09 pm

2006: Apple Store, New York City – Structural Glass

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Image Source: [1][2][3]

Innovation: Structural Glass
Location: Apple StoreFifth Avenue, New York City
Year: 2006
Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Structural Glass Engineering: Eckersly O’Callahan

The iconic 90 paneled 32 foot structural glass cube of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store was created to enhance Apple’s retail brand and has since been patented by Steve Jobs. The cube is an entrance to the retail space below which visitors descend to on a circular all-glass stair or elevator. The store uses the strongest grade structural glass in the world that at the time could only be produced by Seele GmbH & Co. in Germany. During the design process, finite element analysis software was used to test the stresses and deformations present in the structure resulting from the vertical and horizontal loads. With the analysis focusing on its weakest points at the edges and corners, which are somewhat relived by the use of vertical fins. [1]

Structural glass is the result of laminating technologies that introduce flexibility and strength to the material along with shatter and UV resistance. Laminated glass has in internal thermoplastic material layers that hold the two surrounding layers together during high impacts. This is the same technique used in car windshields. The outer layers consist of annealed glass which strengthens the materials by allowing some internal stresses to be relieved [2].

The New York store was the first to include a cylindrical stair encompassing an elevator. The design had to consider seismic loads, foot-traffic, sound vibrations and fire-coatings. Here they used the titanium double grip system from the original San Francisco stair case, but this time they had to account for the 60 degree sloping stair on curved panels as opposed to horizontal treads [3].

As a result of this technology, structural beams, columns and other members can be made out of glass.`

Sources: [1][2][3]

Articles: Patented Structural Staircase (2002), Glass Structure from Seele

Video with more views of the Apple Store

Written by Hannah James

October 9, 2006 at 2:30 pm

2006: Revit MEP

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Innovation:  Revit Mechanical
Location: Cambridge, MA
Year:  2006
By: Autodesk

In 1987 AutoCAD AEC mechanical was released and acquired by Autodesk in 1990 [2]. This was one of few products with the capability of designing plumbing and HVAC in buildings. Revit was acquired by Autodesk Mechanical Division in 2002 for $133 million, and Revit MEP was released in 2006.

Today, the software is mandated by GSA and is a distinct platform in Building Solutions Division. Data from building systems can be compiled into a central file within the LAN to detect possible space interferences of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, therefore deterring expensive consequences upon construction. Revit provides engineers with a central form of communication in design, ultimately implementing easier collaboration. Designers spend more time designing and less time drafting. In addition, Autodesk Revit MEP tools help produce energy efficient building systems designs [3].

Web links: 1, 2, 3
autocad mechanical vs revit mep
Video: Getting Started with Revit MEP

2005: Metropol Parasol – Seville, Spain

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Source of Images and More Images of Metropol Parasol

Building: Metropol Parasol
Location: Seville, Spain
Construction years: 2005-2011
Architect: J. Mayer H. Architects (Jürgen Mayer-Hermann)
Structural Engineer: Arup

The Metropol Parasol has displayed a new innovative way to use timber in construction.  First of all, it is the largest wooden structure in the world.  The building spans over 10,500 square meters, encasing 5,000 square meters and standing about 26 meters high.  Not only that, but it also displays complex geometry rather than rectangular.  This waffle-like timber structure serves as a canopy while also housing multiple bars and restaurants.  The site called for a structure that would not ruin the historical grounds.  Therefore, Roman and Moorish ruins discovered on site are displayed to the public on a floor underground and the structure itself only connects to the ground in a few locations.  After many years of delay in construction, in order to accomplish these goals and make the structure stand, the timber and steel was bonded with high-performance polyurethane resin, a foam seal.  This “glue” was tested to ensure it could withstand the highest possible temperatures.  The structure stands on a concrete foundation with an interior of concrete, steel, and granite.

Sources and more information:
General information
Photos, floor plans, and design models
Photos, detailed information, and a video

Written by Krista Seaman

October 7, 2005 at 8:51 pm

2005: Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas

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Building: Cowboys Stadium
Location: Arlington, Texas
Construction years: 2005-2009
Owner: City of Arlington
Architect: HKS, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore and Campbell & Associates
General Contractor: Manhattan Construction

The stadium of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys is the largest dome in the world.  The roof has an area of 660,800 square feet with the highest point at nearly 300 feet above the field.  The stadium is centered about two main steel arch box trusses, anchored to the ground on each end lying 1,225 feet apart.  Two of the large panels connecting these trusses are retractable, creating an opening of 104,960 square feet in twelve minutes.  The world’s largest operable glass doors are located at each end zone of the stadium, spanning 180 feet wide and 120 feet high.  The main exterior shell of the building is fritted glass curtain wall with aluminum mullions.  This curtain wall is supported by vertical, rectangular steel tubes placed every 8 feet along the perimeter.  The arena seating is supported by over 700 concrete piers that are drilled 20 to 80 feet into the ground.  Combining these elements has made an aesthetically pleasing building that well serves its function. [1]  `

More information: 1, 2, 3

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2005 at 9:45 pm

2005: Release of Revit Structure

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Source of Images and More Features of Revit Structure

Innovation:  Revit Structure
Location: United States
Year:  2005
By: Autodesk

Revit Structure is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software produced by Autodesk.  Shortly after the release of Revit Architecture, Revit Structure was first released in 2005.  There is much overlap in the two programs, but major differences are seen.  In Revit Structure, purely architectural elements such as color schemes, ceilings, rooms, and decal are not included.  Instead, Revit Structure favors the engineer, allowing access to rebar, trusses, loads, and the ability to run an analysis on the structure.  As in Revit Architecture, structures are built in members, not with lines.  The tools contained in each program cater to the knowledge of the intended user.  With the release of Revit Structure, structural engineers were able to work with more complicated and intricate designs since the computer was now able to analyze each member.  The engineer no longer needed to perform hand calculations, which saved a massive amount of time. [1] [2]

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2005 at 8:35 pm

2004: Release of Revit Architecture

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Innovation:  Revit Architecture
Location: United States
Year:  2004
By: Autodesk

Revit Architecture is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software produced by Autodesk.  Revit was first released by Revit Technology Corporation in 2000.  At this time, its main competitors were ArchiCAD by Graphisoft and Microstation by Bentley Systems.  Revit was bought out by Autodesk in 2002.  The 2004 release was the first truly comprehensive BIM software, named Revit Building.  The name was changed to Revit Architecture after the 2006 release.  This software was the first of its kind, fully incorporating BIM into the 3D modeling program.  Rather than building with lines, Revit operates using members; for example, a door or window is all one piece, the designer simply specifies the material and dimensions.  Further, the creation of Revit Architecture allowed architects and building designers to create a task schedule directly linked to the respective parts, to easily identify collisions within the design, to link the members to specific products that will be purchased, to determine the occupancy level and ventilation loads for spaces, and overall to capture every aspect of a building in one database. [1] [2] `

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2004 at 4:35 pm

2004: Burj Khalifa- Dubai, UAE

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Image Credits: [1] [2]

Innovation: Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world)
Location: Dubai, UAE
Architect/Structural Engineering: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)
Construction timeline: January 2004- January 2010

The tallest building in the world at 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa represents a collaboration between engineers, architects, specialists, and contractors from around the world at a magnitude never before seen.  More than 30 contractors from around the world had 12,000 workers on site per day that represented over 100 nationalities. Specialists from China worked on a cladding system that can withstand intense summer heat and significant wind load. Chicago-based firm SOM provided the architectural and structural design for the structure.

A reinforced concrete foundation containing 192 reinforced concrete piles buried 164 feet supports the tower, which is centered around a buttressed hexagonal concrete core with 26 helical levels that decrease in cross section higher in elevation. The setback structure of the building eliminates abrupt transfers in load and eliminates wind vortices by varying building shape at different heights. The core itself resists torsional movement while corridor walls resist wind shear and moments. Vertical columns in the wall system resist both lateral loads and gravity, making the Burj Khalifa an efficient structure. A spire made of 4,000 tons of structural steel tops the structure and had to be constructed inside the tower and raised with a hydraulic pump. Every 30 stories, an entire floor is devoted to MEP equipment and the tower holds the record for world’s tallest service elevators. `

Construction timeline and innovative construction techniques
Burj Khalifa facts and figures
Structure

Written by Meagan Wilkes

January 1, 2004 at 7:36 pm

2003: First offering of the Architectural Engineering PE Exam

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Innovation: First offering of the Architectural Engineering PE exam
Date: April 2003
By: The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI)

Formal education in architectural engineering (focusing on structural, mechanical or electrical fields of building design with an appreciation for integrating building design elements) became widespread in the US by the 1950’s.  The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) developed the Architectural Engineering Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination in the 1990’s and first offered the exam in April 2003 [1]. This exam marked the distinction of architectural engineering as an engineering discipline and allowed architectural engineering graduates to become fully licensed professional engineers.   The Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) sponsored the development of the exam and remains responsible for is maintenance. In 2010, a Professional Activities and Knowledge Survey (PAKS) was performed on the exam to verify that content tested still represents information relevant to the field.  The survey defined three domains of the field that were present on the old exam that continue to be tested in the new exam: electrical systems, mechanical systems, and structural systems. In addition, two new domains were added to the 2010 version of the exam: Building Systems Integration and Project Management/Construction Administration. PAKS will be repeated again in six to eight years, resulting in another modified PE exam [2].  `

More about the exam: [1], [2]

Written by Meagan Wilkes

April 1, 2003 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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2001: 30 St. Mary Axe (Swiss Re Building)- London, England

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Image sources: [1] and [2]

Innovation: 30 St. Mary Axe (also called the Swiss Re Building and “the Gherkin”)
Location: London, England
Architects: Foster and Partners
Engineering: ARUP
Contractor: Skanska
Construction: 2001-2003 (opened April 2004)

The Swiss Re building (also called “the Gherkin” because of its unusual shape) is designed for energy efficiency. Office floor plans are arranged such that gaps in the floor create six shafts around the perimeter of the building that promote natural ventilation and provide natural light. All of the windows are double glazed, providing an insulating layer of air around the building and allowing for passive solar heating. [1]

The triangulated facade, created by a pattern of intersecting columns that spiral up the building in both directions, supports the structure and frees up floor space on the interior of the building. Wherever the facade columns intersect, a perimeter hoop carries horizontal forces. These hoops are in tension in the middle and the lower part of the building but in compression at the top. The aerodynamic shape of the tower deflects wind around the building, lessening wind load.

Read more about the Swiss Re building’s structure in this article

Written by Meagan Wilkes

January 1, 2001 at 1:47 am

The New York Times Building – Manhattan

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Images: [1][2][3]

Innovation: Passive Shading – Ceramic Sunscreen Curtain Wall
Location: 620 Eighth Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York
Year: 2000
By: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop & FXFOWLE Architects
Exterior Wall Consultant: Heitmann & Associates, Inc.
Size: 52 stories/1.5 million-square-feet

The New York Times selected Piano’s design for its energy conservancy and representation of the companies transparent philosophy. In his design, Piano proposed the first ceramic sunscreen to be built in the United States. The exterior framework consisted of 185,000 strategically placed ceramic tubes for optimal standing and seated views that welcomed the penetration of natural light. The aluminum silicate rods hang 18 inches out from the building creating a second skin to absorb heat which reduces the heat load by 30% and energy costs by 13%. Furthermore, the skin reduces the harshness of the buildings edges, so it fades into the skyline. [2]

In addition, a complementary lighting system , SolarTrac, is used that adjusts according to solar exposure using programmed window shades. This active system reduces the lighting load by 30% and creates an organic experience that adjusts with the elements [1]. The SolarTrac system was developed by MechoSystems and the Lawrence Lab at Berkley, and opens up possibilities for future buildings to implement this technology with typical shading curtain walls such as aluminum, wire-mesh, wood or terra-cotta [3].

Sources: [1][2] [3]

Building Website. Window Shading System
More Images by Annie Leibovitz chronicling the building construction
Videos: Interview, Ceramic Rods, Energy Reduction

Written by Hannah James

October 4, 2000 at 8:57 pm

1999: The Petronas Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Image sources[1]
Innovation: High strength concrete
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Year: 1999
By: Cesar Pelli, Thornton Tomasetti

The Petronas Towers designed by Cesar Pelli and Thornton Tomasetti are located in Kuala Lumpur and were the tallest buildings until 2004. These towers are a significant achievement because of the delicate concrete work that was done in this project. This was such an ambitious project that one separate construction company was needed for each tower; Samsung C&T for tower 1 and Hazama Corporation for tower2. Concrete was selected as the main component for the buildings because of huge cost of importing steel to Kuala Lumpur. The high strength reinforced concrete that was used is twice as effective as steel for sway reduction, a necessity for an area with high seismic activity, but caused the structure to weigh twice as much. Many records were broken during the construction during the construction such as the 54 hour concrete pour for each tower’s foundation and the need to have three separate concrete plants on site for adequate supply and quality control. The use of concrete also allowed for big open spaces within the building. The Petronas Towers have a central concrete core and the rest of the structure revolves around it. Without steel beams in the way, the spaces can be rearranged and rooms added and removed at will to create dynamic spaces for living and work.
More information:[1]

Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1999 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1999: Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan

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Image Credits: 1,2

Building: Taipei 101
Location: Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
Year: Construction began in 1999, Completed and Opened in 2004
Owned By: Taipei Financial Center Corporation
Architect: C.Y. Lee & Partners
Structural Engineer: Thorton Tomasetti

Taipei 101 was the tallest building from 2004-2010. It was awarded LEED platinum certification in July 2011 making it the world’s tallest and largest green building. Taipei 101 has 106 floors total with 5 of the floors being underground making it 1,667 feet from ground to the top of the spire. It was the first building in the world to break half-kilometer mark in height. Because of the typhoons and earthquakes common to the area, Taipei 101 was designed to withstand winds of 134 mph and the strongest earthquakes that might occur in the next 2500 year cycle. A 660 tonnes steel pendulum, the largest and heaviest in the world, is used as a tuned mass damper and is suspended from the 87th to the 92nd floors of the building to offset movements in the building from strong wind gusts. The spire contains two 4.5 tonne tuned mass dampers to reduce wind fatigue as well. The repeated segments of the building relate to Asian Pagodas. The influence of pagodas can also be seen in the use of the tuned mass dampers. This technique was used in pagodas to lessen the effect of earthquakes on the structure. [12]

Articles For More Information: 1, 2, 3

Video For More Information: 1

Written by Megan Shammo

October 4, 1999 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Skyscraper

1998: Creation of the International Space Station

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Image Credits: 1, 2

Innovation: International Space Station
Year: 1998
By: American, Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada Space Programs

First launched in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS)  is a modular structure consisting of external trusses and solar arrays. It serves as a research laboratory for biology, physics, astronomy, and other fields.  It is a joint project between American NASA, Russian Federal Space Agency, Japanese JAXA, European ESA, and Canadian CSA. During the original construction of the International Space Station in November of 1998, the beta angle (the percentage of orbit that the station is exposed to the sun) of the station had to be considered at all times. If the beta angle is too high, the space shuttle would not perform optimally.  The International Space Station spans the area of a US Football field (with end zones) when the solar array panels are included. [1] It is built around a truss that is composed of 12 segments. Modules, solar arrays, heat radiators are connected to this truss. [2] The ISS has been continuously inhabited since November 2, 2000. Materials that are developed for the International Space Station are built to improve performance while reduce fabrication and processing costs. Many of these materials are being used in buildings and structures here on earth as well as a variety of technological spin offs that we use in our everyday lives. [3] [4]

Animation of Assembly: 1

Design Concepts: 1

Written by Megan Shammo

November 7, 1998 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Space

1998: Creation of LEED

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Image Credits: 1

Innovation: LEED
Location: United States
Year: 1998
By: U.S. Green Building Council headed by Robert K. Watson

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC. It is the sustainability rating system developed in the United States, assessing the operation, design, and construction of buildings. It is intended to provide a concise list of ways to implement and measure green buildings. Nine rating systems exist today. Ratings are based off 110 point distribution across five credit categories. These categories include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and regional priority. If a building receives 40-49 points it is rated as ‘Certified’, 50-59 points is ‘Silver’, 60-79 points is ‘Gold’, and any building receiving more than 80 points is Platinum LEED certified. This has caused a push in sustainable building and design as well as a successful guideline for designers, operators, and constructors of buildings on how to make green buildings.  This process has been used in over 7,000 projects in the United States alone and projects can be found in more than 130 countries. It has been estimated that 50,000 commercial projects are participating in the LEED green building program with over 2 million square feet of commercial building space being certified every day. [1] [2]  `

More Information: 1

Written by Megan Shammo

October 4, 1998 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Sustainability

1998: Millennium Bridge- London, England

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Images: [1] and [2]
Innovation: Millennium Bridge
Location: London, England
Architects: Foster and Partners
Engineering: ARUP
Bridge Length: 325 meters (1,066 ft)
Construction: 1998- June 2010 opening

In the face of height restrictions, engineers chose to place support cables for the bridge under deck level. Eight suspension cables support the aluminum deck via two river piers. Two days after the bridge opened, unexpected vibration led officials to close the structure. The vibration was caused by a positive feedback phenomenon known as synchronous lateral excitation. Natural swaying motion of people walking across the footbridge caused some lateral sway. When faced with this small sway, people naturally adjust their gate to sway in step with the bridge, which increases the amplitude of vibration. Engineers had not expected this lateral resonant vibration. The problem was fixed by installing 37 fluid-viscous dampers that dissipated energy to control lateral movement and 52 tuned mass dampers to control vertical movement. Renovations took from May 2001-January 2002 at a cost of five million pounds. The bridge reopened February 2002 and is no longer subject to positive feedback phenomenon. [1]

Read more about ARUP’s innovative solution to the vibration here 

Written by Meagan Wilkes

January 1, 1998 at 12:49 am

1997 – Solar Panel Industry Development

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Image Source: [1], [2]

Innovation: Solar Panel Industry Development
Location: Global
Year: 1997
By: United States/Germany

Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electric energy through a series of steps:
Photons in the sunlight are absorbed by a semiconducting material on the solar cell such as silicon.  Electrons are knocked loose from atoms, which causes an electric potential difference.  Electric current then flows through the material to make up for the electric potential-this electricity is captured.  The atoms in the conducting materials only flow in one direction, thus the photovoltaic cells produce direct current electricity.

Solar technology development began in the 1860’s, driven by the notion of coal becoming scarce. However, solar technology development stagnated in the early 20th century when oil and petroleum became more widely available.  In 1974 only 6 private homes in North America were entirely heated/cooled by solar power systems.  The 1973 oil embargo and 1979 energy crisis put new emphasis on solar technology development.  PV installations grew rapidly between 1970 and 1983. But installations began falling in the 1980’s due to lower oil prices.  Since 1997, photovoltaic development has grown rapidly due to oil/natural gas supply, global warming, and the improving economic position of PV technology. PV production growth has averaged 40% per year since 2000- installed capacity reached 39.8 GW at the end of 2010.  The recent growth of the solar panel industry has played a significant role in the advancement of green building.  The incorporation of PV cells in building design promotes efficient environmentally-conscious alternatives to provide a building’s energy.

More info: [1],[2]

Written by Charles Lander

October 9, 1997 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Energy, Sustainability

1997 – International Building Code

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Image Source: [1]

Innovation: International Building Code
Location: United States
Year: 1997
By: International Code Council

Throughout the 20th century, the east coast, west coast, and southeast each had their own regional building codes that specified building regulations.  By the early nineties, it became evident that the nation needed a uniform standard for building regulations; the International Code Council was established in 1994, and after years of research, developed the International Building Code in 1997, which provided the first set of building regulations that had no regional limitations.  The development of the IBC provided uniformity to the design and construction processes of buildings, which ultimately ensured a greater sense of safety for buildings’ occupants.  `

More Info: [1]

Written by Charles Lander

October 9, 1997 at 4:48 pm

1997 – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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Image Source: [1],[2]

Innovation: 3D Structural Modeling
Location: Bilbao, Spain
Architect: Frank Gehry
Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Year: 1997

Completed in 1997, Gehry’s design is considered one of the most iconic structures in the world.  Gehry is known for his use of complex geometry and unorthodox materials.  In order to construct the building while preserving its aesthetic integrity, Gehry worked in conjunction with structural engineers at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, who used advanced 3D structural modeling software to carry out analyses.  In the 1970’s and 80’s, SOM developed an innovative software called AES, which was a significant forerunner to Building Information Modeling (BIM).  In addition to AES, Gehry and SOM used CATIA, a software originally intended for structural analysis of aerospace and shipbuilding designs.  SOM modified CATIA so it could be used to translate Gehry’s complex curvilinear forms from design into construction.  The use of these revolutionary programs marked the beginning of integrating 3D modeling software into the design process, which allowed for extremely complicated structures such as Gehry’s Guggenheim to be constructed.

More Info: [1],[2],[3]
CATIA: [1]

Written by Charles Lander

October 9, 1997 at 4:47 pm

1997: Creation of the Kyoto Protocol

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Image Credit: 1

Innovation: Kyoto Protocol
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Year: Adopted in 1997, Enforcement began in 2005
By: United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change

The Kyoto Protocol is a treaty to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) that obligates industrial countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was adopted on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and enforcement began on February 16, 2005. Industrialized countries, called Annex I countries, are required to submit annual reports of their quantity of gas emissions. These countries must prepare policies and measures for reduction and increase absorption of these gases. Industrialized countries can be rewarded with credits from their policies and reduction measures that would allow higher concentrations of gases. The protocol wants to return emission levels back to the level of specified base years, which in most cases is 1990 although it differs from country to country. If a country does not reach its emission limitation, the country must make up the difference plus an additional 30% during the second commitment period and their ability to make transfers under an emissions trading program will be suspended. This protocol has made the reduction of greenhouse gases a bigger priority and brings light to the importance and effects of these gases. Countries feel more pressure to reduce harmful gas emissions as rules are now enforced concerning them. [1]

Written by Megan Shammo

October 4, 1997 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Sustainability

1996 – L’Oceanografic

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Image Source: [1],[2]

Innovation: L’Oceanografic/thin-shell concrete structure
Location: Valencia, Spain
Year: 1996
By: Felix Candela

Spanish born architect Felix Candela used thin-shell reinforced concrete to create his signature hyperbolic parabola structures.  L’Oceanographic in Valencia, Spain was his final project, which was completed posthumously (1997).  The hyperbolic parabola shape of the roof was inspired by the Los Manantiales Restaurant in Mexico City, which Candela designed in 1958.  In this building, Candela integrated design and sound structure.  In his time, most shell-like structures had to be reinforced with ribs, which added to the structures thickness, and took away from its simplicity.  Candela accepted the challenge of developing a design that did not rely on these ribs and that could fully display the aesthetics of a thin concrete shell.  Candela’s design expanded the role of reinforced concrete in buildings by integrating its structural properties with complex geometric forms to create elegant structures.

More Info: [1],[2]

Written by Charles Lander

October 9, 1996 at 4:51 pm

1992: The first photograph on the internet

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Image source:[1]
Innovation: The first photograph on the internet
Location: Geneva
Year: 1992
By: CERN, Tim Berners-Lee

The first photograph on the web was uploaded by Tim Berners-Lee in 1992, a few years after he helped create the world wide web. The photograph was of ‘Les Horribles Cernettes”, a parody music group made of of secretaries or girlfriends of CERN scientists. Although the first photograph posted online was intended to be humourous, the impact of online pictures has been immense. In addition to the wealth of information that the world wide web gave to people, the ability to browse pictures allowed for anybody to see anything in the world. Sights that required travel or physical photographs to see, could now be experience from any computer. This technology is still transforming our society. What started a picture has led to specialized softwares and sited dedicated to hosting images and has evolved to include videos. We can now access any video or image almost instantly. This complements the information that can be transferred over the web for any job or application.

Additional information:[1]

Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1992 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1990: BREEAM

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Innovation: BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)
Location: UK
Year: 1990
By: BRE (Building Research Establishment)

The Environmental Assessment Method (EAM) developed by the building research establishment (BRE) in the UK was the first tool to measure the sustainability of new buildings. It rates buildings based on criteria such as energy, water use, materials, innovation, access to public transportation, and environmental impact. BREEAM is significant because the method has spread across the world and led to the creation of other regional ranking systems that also measure the sustainability of buildings. Equivalents in different regions of the world include LEED in North America, Green Star in Australia and HQE in France. The push towards sustainable buildings that been generated from the development of such ranking systems impacts architecture and engineering because it provides new objectives that must be integrated into the overall process of creating a building.  `

Links for more information: [1]

Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1990 at 7:26 pm

1990: The World Wide Web

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Innovation: The World Wide Web
Location: Geneva
Year: 1990
By: CERN, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau

Following the creation of ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1962, research to improve military computer technology became a priority for the United States during the Cold War and ARPANET was soon created. This early form of the internet was mostly for government and educational purposes and consisted of interfaces that were not user friendly. This changed when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) created a standard way to “mark up” a page. With this new hypertext markup language (HTML), and recently created internet browsers, a world wide web of interlinked documents was created. The ease of use made it feasible for the internet to become available for public use. From then on the information that the average person has access to has increased exponentially. In the context of engineering and architecture, information was able to be passed from office to office almost instantly. The world wide web has expedited the process of sharing information that is vital to projects and has led to a relatively seamless  design, planning and construction process.  `

Links for more information: [1] [2]

Written by Carlos Balderas

October 4, 1990 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Arab World Institute – Paris, France

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Image Source: [1][2][3]

Innovation: Active Shading
Location: Paris, France
Year:1981
By: Jean Nouvel
Architects: Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Leze, Pierre Soria & Architecture-Studio
Engineering: SETEC Bâtiment

In an agreement between eighteen Arab countries and the French government, the Arab World Institute was created as an exhibition of the Arab world’s cultural and spiritual values and to provide a space for further research [1]. The building itself is a sharing of culture with the north façade reflecting the Parisian blocks across the Siene River, and the south façade covered in the motorized hexagonal lenses. Their pattern and light properties are a reference to mashrabiya, a lattice-work motif found in Arabian architecture that provides shaded light and privacy with a view [2].

Consisting of 30,000 diaphragms on 1600 elements resting on a stainless-steel, aluminum and glass framework, the geometric array is a compilation of high-tech photosensitive mechanical devices. Using photo-voltaic cells, the light levels and transparency can be adjusted in a fashion similar to a camera lens by a central computer system to allow 10-30% of light in [2]. Although designed in an exploration of light, reflections, contours and shadows, this concept can be applied to solar shading in efforts to reduce cooling loads.

Sources: [1][2]

Project BriefMore on this Building at MoreAeDesign

Video: Lenses Adjusting, Fabrication of Panels

Written by Hannah James

October 4, 1987 at 7:43 pm

1986 – Kodak invents the megapixel sensor

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Innovation: Megapixel Sensor
Date: 1986
By: Kodak

There were two crucial developments leading to the invention of the megapixel sensor. First, George Smith and Willard Boyle from Bell Labs invented the charge-coupled device (CCD). This technology is the same image sensor that is used in all digital cameras. Second, Sony Corporation developed the first prototype digital camera called the Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera). The Mavica only actually took electronic still images, so it was not a true “digital camera”, but it did produce a 720,000 pixel image.

A few years later, in 1986, Kodak produced the first megapixel sensor, a fingernail sized solid state device capable of recording 1.4 million pixels. Previously, cameras captured images on film; with the advent of the megapixel sensor, users could record images without need of a physical medium like film and so accessing images became significantly easier. With the megapixel sensor, users could quickly capture an image and share it with others without wasting valuable time and money dealing with dark rooms and developing film.

references: [1], [2]

Written by Cody Lambert

October 9, 1986 at 3:51 pm

1985: Microstation v1.0

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Innovation: Microstation v1.0
Year: 1985
By: Bentley Systems

Microstation, which is similar to AutoCAD, is a software product for creating 2-D and 3-D designs and drafting. Microstation is used primarily for architectural and engineering purposes and can also provide special environments for civil engineering, mapping, and plant design.

The earliest version of Microstation, v 1.0, came about through Bentley’s experience developing an earlier platform called PseudoStation (1984). Version 1.0 was a simple, read only and plot program designed for the DGN file format and ran exclusively on the IBM PC-AT personal computer. Version 1.0 was only capable of producing basic 2D line drawings and had a very limited interface.

To date, eleven versions of Microstation have been released and the software has come a long way. Now, users have access to an incredible amount of features including a nearly limitless design plane, unlimited levels, no file size limits, standard definitions for working units, movie generation, and many more. Software like Microstation has enabled us to take what was bound in our imagination and produce real world projects. Microstation is widely used by European firms whereas AutoCAD is more prevalent in the United States.

sources: [1], [2]

Written by Cody Lambert

March 4, 1985 at 8:40 pm

1982: AutoCAD v1.0

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Innovation: AutoCAD v1.0
Year: 1982
By: John Walker, Autodesk

AutoCAD is a software application produced by Autodesk, Inc. that enables computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting. The software is used to produce 2-D and 3-D drawings and is used in a range of industries including architecture, project management, engineering, and others.

Before AutoCAD v1.0 and similar computer based modeling software were introduced to the world in 1982, drawing and modeling was done entirely by hand, using a drafting desk and a t-square. Today, with software like AutoCAD and its close competitors, almost everything is done using computer technology. AutoCAD allows the user to create beautiful and complex 2-D or 3-D images, building from basic entities (lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text).

Looking to the future, we may soon see versions of AutoCAD in mobile format (phones/tablets) to enable on-the-go creation and newer versions of CAD may be implementing “cloud” based file storage.  `

Sources: [1]

Written by Cody Lambert

August 4, 1982 at 8:05 pm

1982: Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP)

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Innovation: Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP)
Location: United States
Year: 1982
By: Robert E. Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

The Internet Protocol Suite is the set of procedures used by computers to communicate with one another over the internet and other networks. The name TCP/IP comes from the suite’s most vital protocols: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. TCP/IP specifies how data sent between computers should be formatted, addressed, transmitted, routed, and received. The protocols are based on various “layers” (application layer, transport layer, internet layer, and link layer) [1].

The origins of TCP/IP are rooted in research undertaken by DARPA (see above) within the U.S. Department of Defense. The primary challenge was to figure out how to connect local, stand-alone computers to a network to quickly and efficiently transfer information.

In March 1982 the US D.o.D. declared TCP/IP as the standard for all military networking and subsequently the public and private spheres followed suit.  This development laid the necessary foundations for the advent of the internet. Without TCP/IP, we would not have access to web based content for our vital programs and features we now take for granted like email and Google would be nonexistent.

Written by Cody Lambert

March 1, 1982 at 3:14 am

1977: CATIA

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[2]

Innovation: Aerospace CAD Design
Location: France
Year: 1977
By: Avions Marcel Dassault

CATIA (pron: K’tia) – Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application – is a 3D Product Lifecycle Management program that supports product development from design to the manufacturing and construction stage. CATIA can be used to create 3D parts made of sheet metal, composites or molds, based on digital 3D sketches. It was the first CAD/CAE/CAM software created. [1] Originally called CATI (Conception Assistée Tridimensionnelle Interactive – French for Interactive Aided Three-dimensional Design), it was developed in 1977 as a surface modeler to assist in designing the Dassault fighter jets. Based on ten years of 3-D mathematics research, the program allowed designers and engineers to create complex three dimensional forms and provide documents for manufacturing. In 1981 the program was renamed CATIA and Dassault Systemes was formed to develop and sell the program. In 1984 Boeing chose CATIA as its main CAD tool centralizing it as an aerospace CAD tool [2]. In 1989 Chrysler began using CATIA for it’s Jeep and truck designs, introducing CATIA into the automotive industry where it has quickly grown to be used in some form by most automobile manufacturers [3]. In 1990 CATIA was choosen by the General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation to design U.S. Navy submarines, and in 1998 CATIA V5 was released with features created specifically for shipbuilders. This program is not limited to the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding fields, it can be used to design electrical and HVAC systems. Frank Gehry’s curvilinear designs have been modeled using CATIA [2].

Website 1

Written by Morgan Allford

January 1, 1977 at 12:00 am

1977: Centre Georges Pompidou

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[1 23]

Innovation: Exposing the Infrastructure on the Building’s Exterior
Building: Centre Georges Pompidou
Location: Paris, France
Year: 1971
By: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini (Architects)
Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners

In 1971 Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and Gianfranco Franchini, three unknown architects, won the design competition for the new Paris library and museum of contemporary art. In 1977 construction was completed. The assembly of the exterior steel supports took only six months. The design of the Centre Georges Pompidou reversed everything that had been previously done in architecture, removing the internal systems and structural supports out of the interior of the building and exposing them on the outside of the building [1]. The escalators, elevators, HVAC systems, water pipes, and structural supports make up the brightly painted exterior of the building. Each steel component has been painted a color that indicates its purpose: red for transportation, blue for air, green for water, yellow for electricity, gray for corridors, and white for the structural components of the building [2]. By removing the infrastructure for the interior this design allowed for huge open floor spaces unimpeded by columns or stairwells. The Centre Georges Pompidou made the infrastructure a centerpiece of the building rather than hiding it.

Articles: 1, 2

Video: 1

Written by Morgan Allford

January 1, 1977 at 12:00 am

Posted in Architecture

1977: Apple ][ and the Commodore PET

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[1, 2]

Innovation: Mass-Marketing of the Personal Computer
Location: United States
Year: 1977
By: Apple Computer and Commodore International

In June 1977 Apple ][ and the Commodore PET 2001 were introduced at the Las Vegas Consumers Electronics show and shortly after were brought to the public. Both of these computers originally had 4 KB of RAM and were built around a MOS Technology 6502 Microprocessor. The Apple ][ had basic sound and the first color screen making it popular for personal use [1]. Over the four years it was produced, 4 million Apple ][ were sold. The Commodore PET was the first computer to include the components as part of whole, with the monitor, keyboard, and circuitry combined as a single package [2]. Less than 1 million of the Commodore PETs were sold, but they were made popular in schools due to the sturdy construction. At the same time the TRS-80, produced by RadioShack, sold 1.5 million. These three computers were called the 1977 “Trinity,” and led the way for the expanded use of personal computers [3]. The wide spread use of the personal computer allowed for greater knowledge of the systems available and opened the door for further development of how computers could be used in professional situations.  `

Written by Morgan Allford

January 1, 1977 at 12:00 am

1975: K-10000 Tower Crane

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[1, 2]

Innovation: Largest Tower Crane in the World
Location: Denmark
Year: 1975
By: KRØLL Cranes A/S, Berthold Lang

The KRØLL K-10000 has held the title of the world’s largest tower crane for over 35 years. Standing almost 400 feet tall with a 266 foot jib reach, the standard jib model can lift 120 tons at a radius of 269 feet. The long jib model can lift 94 tons to a radius of 330 ft. The K-10000 can rotate 360° once it has been bolted to its 40 foot diameter concrete base. This allows the crane to cover an area of 7.5 acres, or approximately 6 football fields. A second servicing crane is attached to the top for the original construction and future maintenance of the K-10000. A system of three counterweights, one set and two mobile on trolleys, weighing a total of 100 tons, are used to balance the crane. Under this load the crane can withstand wind speeds of up to 175 mph. [1] With its immense jib span and load capacity the K-10000 decreases the time for construction on huge construction projects by eliminating the need for small cranes and crawlers.

Article: 1

Video: 1 (English Captions Available)

Written by Morgan Allford

January 1, 1975 at 12:00 am

Posted in Construction

1970: The Key Speech

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Image Source:  [1]

Innovation: The Key Speech
Location: Winchester, UK
Year: 1970
By:  Sir Ove N. Arup

In preparation for retirement, Ove Arup and his partners in the industry expressed their desire to continue their strong working relations with one another as their leading positions were handed down to their successors.  At a meeting in Winchester, UK, Arup, founder of Arup Group Limited, addressed this desire in a talk known as the “key speech.”  In his speech, he sets standards for the firm—“the aims of the firm and the principles through which through which they may be achieved.”  He expected that all branches bearing the Arup name followed these standards to keep the company in good name all around the world.  The importance of this speech is shown through the requirement that all employees of Arup read this speech and abide by it so that they understand what they are working for and to.  These standards do not apply to only the Arup firm, but all other firms around the world—his speech set the standards for the industry.  [1]

Full Speech

Written by Johnathan Duong

October 9, 1970 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

1970: Willis Tower – Chicago, Illinois

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Image Source:  [1]  [2]

Innovation:  Willis Tower
Location:  Chicago, Illinois
Year:  1970
Architect: Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill
Engineer: Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower, standing at 108 stories, held the title for the world’s tallest building for nearly 25 years, between the years 1973-1998.   The architects and engineers of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill were tasked with the job to build one of the tallest office buildings in the world.  With little ground area to work with and the requirement for a building fit to contain around 3 million people, they came up with the idea to create a 3×3 matrix of bundled rectangular “tubes.”  Originally introduced by Fazlur Rahman Khan, “tubes” were a relatively new concept in structural engineering; in which, they acted like hollow cantilevers that could resist lateral loads.  Furthermore, bundling the tubes would allow an extremely tall structure to stand because it would spread the lateral loads and vertical loads through a greater area throughout and at the bottom of the tower.  Also, because of this discovery, “buildings no longer need be box-like in appearance, they could become sculpture.”  For this reason, sections of the 3×3 matrix vary in height.  The concept of bundling “tubes” was a new design innovation that would be incorporated into many future projects.  [1][2]

Written by Johnathan Duong

October 9, 1970 at 6:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1969: Apollo 11 – First Man to Land on the Moon

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Image Source:  [1] [2]

Innovation: First man to land on the moon
Location: The Moon
Year: 1969
By: Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin

The space mission, Apollo 11, marked an important step for both space exploration and building technology.  Of course, this mission is most memorable for landing the first humans on the Moon, but it also represented the advances that have been made in construction material and the effort put forth to do so.  The spacecraft was fabricated out of materials fit for the harsh conditions of space—an environment greatly worse than that of on Earth.  If such materials were capable of surviving the environment of outer space then it is certainly suitable as construction material for buildings on Earth.

Apollo 11 not only represented the advances of materials, but also further pushed the possibility for space architecture.  Such a practice focuses on the design and construction of inhabitable environments located in outer space.  Space architecture creates a whole other realm in the study of architecture as design factors completely differ.  Today, much of this architecture is focused on the construction of large spacestations built for the purpose of space exploration.  Perhaps, the practice of space architecture will expand even further when land on another planet is found to be inhabitable and humans find it a place they want to live.  [1][2]

Video Footage

Written by Johnathan Duong

October 9, 1969 at 5:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1968: World Trade Center – Towers 1 & 2 – New York City, New York

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Image Source: [1] [2]

Innovation: World Trade Center, Towers 1 & 2
Location:  New York City, New York
Year: 1968
Owner:  Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Architect:  Minoru Yamasaki, Emery Roth & Sons
Engineer:  Leslie E. Roberston Associates

Deemed as lead architect of the World Trade Center project, Minoru Yamasaki proposed a plan that incorporated tall-standing twin towers; a design that would make these towers the tallest structures in the world at the time.  Due to the height of the towers, more elevators than usual needed to be included, but this created a space problem on each floor.  The solution, created by Fazlur Khan, was “sky lobbies” which were “floors where people could switch from a large-capacity express elevator to a local elevator that goes to each floor in a section.”  This saved a tremendous amount of space on each floor.

To make Yamasaki’s design possible, the structural engineer developed a “tube” frame structural system, first introduced by Fazlur Rahman Khan.  Such a system allowed for a more open floor plan at each level as the loads are distributed around the perimeter of the floor through the use of Vierendeel trusses.  The “tube” can be described as “a three-dimensional hollow tube, cantilevered perpendicular to the ground.”  The system is designed to resist lateral loads caused by wind, seismic activity, etc.  The tower was constructed around a core surrounded by a perimeter of columns, bridged together by floor trusses.  [1][2]

Video Documentary: [1]

Written by Johnathan Duong

October 9, 1968 at 5:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1968: Olympic Stadium – Munich, Germany

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Image Sources: [1], [2], [3]

Innovation: Lightweight Tensile Cable Structure
Location: Munich, Germany
Year: 1968
By: Gunther Behnisch (architect) and Frei Otto (Structural Engineer)

The construction of the Munich Stadium started with the idea of building a structure that imitated the Alps and, most importantly, set a counterpart to the heavy, authoritarian stadium in Berlin so Germany could be shown in a new light. As a result, Gunther Behnisch and Frei Otto, often considered the world’s leading authority on lightweight tensile and membrane structures, collaborated and came up with the cloud like, wavy, tensile structure of the Munich Stadium.
The structure of the Munich Stadium consists of a continuous tensile surface that bridges not only the stadium but also all of the main buildings of the Olympic Games creating a series of volumes across the site. The canopy membrane is suspended from multiple vertical masts that allow for the dramatic curves across the surface to flow across the site changing form, scale, and sectional characteristics. As complicated as the structure looks to the visitor, Otto’s high precision in the design allowed for a simple assembly to one of the world’s most innovative and complex structural systems that have worked solely on the premise of tension.

Sources: [1]

Written by Alex G.

May 6, 1968 at 11:50 am

Posted in Tensile Cable

1967: Habitat 67 – Montreal, Quebec

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Image Sources: [1], [2]

Innovation:Prebabricated Housing on a Large Scale
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Year: 1967
By: Moshe Safdie

Habitat 67, a series of prefabricated concrete units meant for large scale housing, was first introduced by Moshe Safdie on 1967 for the Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada. The final complex consists of 364 three dimensional prefabricated concrete cubes arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height to form 146 residences.
The project began as an experiment to achieve better and more affordable housing for people living in increasingly crowded cities around the world. Safdie felt that it was more efficient to make buildings in factories and deliver them prefabricated to the site. As a result, Safdie attempted to make a revolution in the way homes were built by factory mass production. The units were built in a factory beside the Habitat 67 site and then arranged in such a way that each man’s roof was another man’s garden. The arrangement of the units provided privacy and a sense of uniqueness.
Even though his project was successful in making it possible for a dense population to live in an urban environment with the pleasures of a private home and garden, the project failed to revolutionize housing in such ways and ultimately Habitat 67 became so famous that the apartment became much more expensive than Safdie originally envisioned.

Sources: [1]
Habitat 67 Website

Written by Alex G.

April 27, 1967 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Prefabrication

1967: Biosphere – Montreal, Quebec

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Image Sources: [1], [2]

Innovation: Space Frame/ Geodesic Dome
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Year: 1967
By: Buckminster Fuller

The Montreal Biosphere, designed for the Expo 67, is the result of Buckminster Fuller’s work dealing with with the tensile relationships between members to create a stable structure that was aesthetically pleasing. His work on domes began in the 1950s after becoming interested in tensile relationships and in spheres, which had the largest volume to surface area ratio. Fuller’s dome projects have been used for the military, environmental camps, and exhibition attractions around the world. His work inspired many to be creative in dealing with complex geometry, tensegrity, and lightweight structures.
Though Fuller was not the first to create a geodesic dome (rather, it was Dr. W. Bauersfield in the 1920s), he did receive the United States patent after popularizing his idea with the Montreal Biosphere in the Expo 67. The Montreal Biosphere’s covering of the dome burned in 1976, but the structure still stands at 250 feet in diameter and 200 feet high. Currently it is known as Biosphère and houses an interpretive museum, remaining a symbol of the Expo and of thin-shell structure .

Sources: [1], [2]

Written by Alex G.

April 6, 1967 at 11:44 am

Posted in Domes, Space

1967: West German Pavilion Roof – Montreal, Quebec

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Image Sources: [1]

Innovation: Tensile Cable Roof (dynamic relaxation)
Location: West German Pavillion Roof, Montreal, Quebec
Year: 1967
By: Frei Otto

Developed using a form-finding structural engineering principle called dynamic relaxation, the aim of which is “to find a geometry where all forces are in equilibrium”

The West German Pavilion Roof, designed for the Expo 67 at Montreal, is one of the many lightweight and tensile membrane structures for which Frei Otto is known. Although it took him several years to develop this system, it took only six weeks for the German Pavilion to be built in 1967.
His system used a network of steel cables suspended from eight slender steel masts of varied height, situated at irregularly intervals and supported by steel cables anchored outside the structure. The roof was then covered by a translucent plastic skin. The roof produced a new beautiful interior space lit through the transparent plastic odd-shaped windows in the roof. The tent and all of its components were fabricated in Germany.
Although the building wasn’t cheap to build since it was a new concept, Frai Otto’s innovation had potential not only because its steel and plastic roof weighted only 150 tons, about one third to one fifth of normal roofing materials, but also because it had the ability to adapt to the irregular topography of any site.  `

Sources: [1]

Written by Alex G.

April 4, 1967 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Tensile Cable

1965: John Hancock Center – Chicago, Illnois

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   [1]

   [2]      [3]

Image Sources: [1]   [2]  [3]

Innovation: John Hancock Center

Location: Chicago, Illnois

Year: 1965

By: Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill

The John Hancock Center, a 100 story structural expressionist skyscraper by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill was one of structural engineer Fazlur Khan’s first buildings to exhibit much of the structural systems found in many of today’s modern skyscrapers. [1] Khan’s understanding of structural systems would allow engineers to create buildings that reached heights few could dream of. During the time of the construction of the John Hancock Center, 20 story buildings were still noteworthy, but Khan’s Tube Structural Systems would allow buildings to reduce the lateral loads such as wind and seismic forces that kept buildings low to the ground, while significantly reducing the amount of steel needed per square foot. His system accomplished this by utilizing the exterior wall perimeter of the structure  as  thin walled tube. Khan’s X-bracing added to the structural integrity by directing forces to the exterior columns, eliminating the need for interior columns. [2]

The John Hancock Center not only gave engineers the tools to create modern skyscrapers, which rely on their ultra light weight design to allow them to top out at incredible heights, but also stands as a terrific example of structural systems presented in an exterior aesthetic form. Other later buildings such as the Llyod’s Building do this quite well.[3]

Weblinks: [1]  [2]  [3]

Written by kathleen hetrick

January 1, 1965 at 12:00 pm

1961: Computer Aided Design – Cambridge, Massachusetts

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 [1]    [2]

Image Sources: [1] [2]

Innovation: Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Year:  1961

By: Ivan Sutherland

Computer Aided Design combines computer graphics with application software to enable users to create, modify, analyze and optimize designs. CAD is used in classrooms and businesses worldwide and has advanced greatly since its beginning in 1961. Ivan Sutherland of Massachussets Instiute of Technology created the first CAD program, Sketchpad, with inspiration from Servo Mechanisms Laboratory numerical control. As programming and research developed in the 70’s and 80’s CAD moved beyond 2D and 3D drafting to include more engineering application features. Today’s CAD has become a very accessible product that allows users to work from personal computers to quickly and efficiently create designs in a number of different industries.

Today’s CAD user most likely uses software systems such as AutoCad for 2D drawing and modeling. More powerful programs such as Pro-E for design and ANSYS for structures allow for much more complex analysis.

Weblinks: [1]

Written by kathleen hetrick

January 1, 1961 at 12:00 pm

1959: Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia

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Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Innovation: Sydney Opera House
Location: Sydney, Australia
Year: 1959
Architect: Jorn Utzon
Structural Engineer: Ronald Jenkins with Ove Arup and Partners
Construction Managers: Civil & Civic

Since the Sydney Opera House was completed in 1973, it has become one of the twentieth centuries most distinctive buildings, earning Utzon the Pritzker Prize in 2003. The distinctive silhouette of the building was Utzon’s interpretation of sailboats over the water and was therefore originally designed as a composition of many unrelated shapes. However, it was soon realized that building individual casts for each concrete shell would be extremely expensive, so the design team was forced to come up with a more economical solution. After a period of uncertainty, Utzon came up with the idea of giving each shell the same curvature, meaning that the dimensions of each large shell had to be derived from the same circle. This method would require only one mold for all of the panels. These panels could then be manipulated by adjusting their angles to accomodate the design. Once this decision was made, 2400 precast ribs (used to support the roof) and 4000 roof panels came together with the help of an innovative adjustable steel truss system to form the iconic roofline[1].

The solution to the roof challenge probably would not have been found if this team hadn’t propositioned the use of a computer for one of the first times in the field of structural engineering. They also designed a very complex glass curtain wall and achieved huge spans by designing intricate beams that changed their cross-sectional shape along their length[2].

More about design principles
More about structural ingenuity
More about the glass facade

Written by Emily Lamon

October 8, 1959 at 4:38 pm