R. Shankar Nair

Senior Vice President exp US Services Inc., and Past Chairman CTBUH

The Evolution of the Skyscraper
(click to view video)

Friday, February 15th, 2013 – 4:10 pm

Location: Sinclair Lab Auditorium, Lehigh University, 7 Asa Drive, Bethlehem, PA

R. Shankar Nair, Senior Vice President exp US Services Inc., and Past Chairman CTBUH: Shankar Nair has more than 45 years of experience in structural engineering as a practicing structural designer, researcher, author, and lecturer.  His work has focused on structural engineering for large architectural and civil engineering projects, including the longest tied-arch bridge span in the world and many high-rise buildings.  Dr. Nair has worked for Teng and Associates and its successor firm exp since 1995 in Chicago, and before that was a principal at RTKL Associates in Baltimore and Alfred Benesch and Company in Chicago.  His work has garnered numerous awards, including four AISC “Prize Bridge” awards and six annual “Most Innovative Structure” awards from the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.  Dr. Nair chairs the AISC Committee on Specifications and is a past chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 2005.  Dr. Nair has a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is licensed to practice engineering in 44 states. 

The Evolution of the Skyscraper: The presentation will outline the history of the skyscraper — the invention of the safe passenger elevator, which made tall buildings usable; the invention of the metal-framed structure, which made them economical; the rapid increase in height from the 10-story Home Insurance Building in 1885 to the 102-story Empire State Building just 46 years later; the stagnation in height for many years even as structural materials and techniques improved rapidly; the present surge in super-tall buildings; and trends for the future.  All of these developments will be explored with a particular emphasis on the fundamental engineering principles driving the evolution of these structures.  Though presented primarily from a structural engineering perspective, the presentation should be accessible to anyone interested in tall buildings. 

The Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series has been initiated and organized by Dan M. Frangopol, the first holder of Lehigh's Fazlur Rahman Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture.

The Dendrite and Graphite of a Grey Cast Iron Structure