The Muslim News
Awards for Excellence
||Fazlur Rahman Khan award for excellence in engineering, science and technology
The Chicago skyline boasts an array of design from the grandiose to the mundane. But nothing attracts the eye or the imagination so purposefully as the Sears Tower. When it was built in 1975, the 110-storey Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world, earning its designer Fazlur Rahman Khan a place in design and engineering history.
Born in Dhaka in 1929, Fazlur Rahman Khan rose quickly to prominence after his studies in the US culminated in a PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Illinois. He worked for a while in Pakistan and then accepted partnership at the modern US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. In 1963 he developed the revolutionary 'tube concept' in which the walls of a skyscraper are constructed and anchored into the ground as a single tube; the Sears Tower itself is a monument to Khan's technological innovation.
Khan's reputation rests not only on his remarkable designs but also on the ethos he pursued. He believed, and proved, that it was possible to marry the visionary (but often flighty) realms of architecture with the conventional (but often staid) field of engineering. The union can be seen best in the Hajj Terminal Building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Based on a tent-like structure - to afford optimum shade for up to 80,000 pilgrims - Khan used fibreglass and cable to combine the practical with the modern, the traditional with the futuristic.
The cornerstone of Khan's approach; science and durability in fusion with creativity, endures also in the less affluent parts of the world. Until his death in 1981, Fazlur Rahman Khan was profoundly concerned with the rapid urbanisation of developing countries and called for the application of workable and appropriate forms of technology.
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