Fazlur Rahman Khan

Fazlur Rahman Khan: A Genius Who Made Skyscrapers Real

Top Facts To Get Acquainted With Fazlur Rahman Khan

The man, who affected the Chicago skyline. He is called a genius, Einstein of the architecture and innovator. The man, who deserved admiration and recognition. Fazlur Rahman Khan was a gifted man, who made contemporary skyscrapers achievable.

1. Khan’s most powerful idea was the “Tube” Structural Designs.
2. Khan worked for prominent “Skidmore, Owings & Merill” architectural firm.
3. He projected a “Bundled Tube” design which was embodied in the Willis Tower, which until 1998 was the highest building worldwide.
4. At the Willis Tower lobby, there is a statue of Khan.
5. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, he took a major role in collecting funds for the Bengali people.

The True Story of Einstein of Architecture

The skyscraper was in decay. Then Fazlur Khan had a theory that would turn the traditional architecture on its head. He was born in Bangladesh and attended a civil engineering school. For the excellent performance, he was honored with a government Pakistan grant and a Fulbright scholarship. The grant gave him a chance to immigrate to the United States, where he got into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Fazlur Rahman Khan designed the Haji Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport. The tent-like structure he used was very innovating, and the King Abdulaziz airport received many awards, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. They claimed that Khan’s work affected the modern Muslims architectural tradition. He made numerous accomplishments:

  • In 1972 he was announced ENR’s Man of the Year;
  • In 1973 he received Alfred Lindau Award;
  • Ernest Award in 1977.

Despite the fact, he was 20 years old the first time he saw a real skyscraper, Fazlur Khan was the first to introduce building innovations to American skyscrapers. Fazlur Rahman Khan as a person Khan’s colleagues remember him, as a man of easygoing nature. Some of them bear in mind, how Khan amused upper-crust women by reading palms and predicting the fortunes. He was the son of a mathematician and confirmed himself as a civil engineering wunderkind.

At the University of Illinois, he was a student of a legendary Hardy Cross. The professor taught Fazlur Rahman Khan to feel the buildings, as a living thing. He imagined himself as a whole building and tried to experience every part of the construction, defining strengths and weaknesses. Once in interview Khan said that he visualizes the effects of natural powers the building suffers and tries to resist it in his designs. Khan used this architectural empathy while projecting the Hancock Center.

His Projects

Khan’s innovative tube design gave birth to a brand new cohort of skyscrapers, which were built efficiently and safely. The Empire State building construction was regarded as non- cost-effective, Chicago was in need of new ideas. Fazlur Rahman Khan shared one. He rejected the inner central supports of steel, instead offered the exterior support frame made up by series of vertical tubes. The frame has to create a soup rising, that protects against the possible earthquakes and strong high wind speeds. The frame
enables the extra area inside the building.

Firstly, he tested his theory on Chestnut building in Chicago, then Chicago’s most prominent John Hancock Center in 1968. At that time, after the Empire State, it was the second tallest building in the world. In comparison with the Empire State building which used 206 kilograms, the Hancock Center was much more efficient. It used 145 kilograms of steel per square meter. The tube structure proved to be the best.

In 1982 Fazlur Rahman Khan passed away. But his idea is still at the world’s top engineering designs. Tube design is still used for constructing contemporary skyscrapers, which makes Khan one of the most prominent architects and engineers in history. Additionally, he was a trailblazer in applying computer-aided design, and the one to contribute humanitarian assistance to his native country. Khan’s daughter says that her father believed that his work positively inspires and encourages the others. Once he emphasized that such technicians, as him must not lose themselves in technology only. The drama, art, music, life itself and living people are the true sources of inspiration.

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6 thoughts on “Fazlur Rahman Khan

  1. I love architecture – the art of cities! A great man. One of my sons is an architect! It’s such a creative responsibility! So out there!

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