Google Doodle is celebrating the 88th birthday of structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan. The engineer, who was named Construction's Man of the Year by Engineering News-Record in 1972, is credited with revolutionising the way skyscrapers were designed and constructed.
Originally from Bangladesh, Khan moved to the US to study at graduate school and stayed in the country to work in the Chicago design office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. According to his daughter, Yasmin Sabina Khan, he recognised that traditional design and construction methods for tall buildings were uneconomical.
Khan developed new ways to frame tall buildings, which improved structural efficiency and economy. In his 1965 design for Chicago's 100-storey John Hancock Center, Khan began using the "trussed tubed" structural system. This system, which can be executed in both steel and concrete, uses diagonal bracing on all sides of a building's perimeter.
In 1971, while designing the world's tallest building of the time, Khan used the "bundled tube" system. The Sears Tower, which has been renamed the Willis Tower, remained the world tallest building for 25 years.
"A humanitarian in his personal as well as professional life, he was inspired by the belief that his work had a positive impact and he encouraged other engineers not to lose track of the purpose of their profession," his daughter said.
In a statement after being named Construction's Man of the Year, Khan said: "The technical man must not be lost in his own technology. He must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music and, most importantly, people."
Khan died in 1982 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the age of 52.
The Google Doodle celebrating Khan's life and accomplishments was created by Lydia Nichols.