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Friday, October 23, 2009

Design Icons at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

by Prof. Jose Torero

As a Fire Safety Engineer, or someone who pretends to be one, I have many times complained that we work in a field that needs “Design Icons.” We have our icons in Fire Dynamics (H. Emmons, D. Drysdale, P. Thomas, J. Quintiere, etc.), we have our educational icons (J. Bryan, D. Lucht, D. Rasbash, etc.), we have our professional icons (B. Williamson, B. Nelson, etc.) and we have our design icon, Margaret Law. I unfortunately cannot think of any other design icon. I have enjoyed the immense pleasure of meeting or working with all of them but Prof. Rasbash, nevertheless I have always felt a professional void when it relates to design icons.

Today at the CTBUH 2009 Conference, I had a wonderful experience that made me feel humble and made me hope that one day our field will grow to be able to celebrate the achievements of three generations of design icons. I sat through presentations about structural design by Leslie Robertson, Charles de Benedittis, Gilberto doValle, Shankar Nair, Ron Klemencic and David Scott finishing with a presentation by Architect John Portman about architecture and structural design.

It was an afternoon that gave me something to think and forced me to reflect on the profession I chose. I have to admit that I felt envious of structural engineers but happy that we have a bright future ahead of us. It is in our hands to fill our profession with design icons, isn’t that a great privilege?


1 comment:

CAE said...

With the "standard fire curve" close to completing a century in age yet still largely comprising the basis of a great deal of modern building fire design, it is definitely fair to say (and very important to point out!!) that there are few "design icons" in our field!!