Anton Tedesko: Thin Shells and Esthetics

by David P. Billington, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Princeton Univ., Princeton, N.J. 08544,


Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 11, Pg. 2539-2554


Document Type: Journal Paper

Discussion: Huntington Craig G. (See full record)
Discussion: Kirchman Milton (See full record)
Closure: (See full record)

Abstract: Rarely can historians attribute to one person the introduction into a society of a new and widely useful engineering idea. We have no difficulty, however, in attributing to one structural engineer, Anton Tedesko, the introduction of thin-shell concrete roof structures into the United States. This achievement merits some reflection not only on the events themselves, but also on the background and personality of the individual engineer. Anton Tedesko's work and ideas in thin shell concrete studies demonstrate: First, his educational background broadened his vision, emphasized design at least as much as analysis, and included aesthetics as a serious part of structural design. Second, his experience in European practice gave him not only a solid grounding in thin shell construction, but also a first-hand view of the operation of designer-builders. Third, the history of thin shell structures shows how new ideas in structural engineering came from designers and especially those with construction experience. Fourth, Tedesko's long career has focused on the design of full-scale works in which behavior, cost, and appearance have been the criteria for success.

Subject Headings: Distinguished engineers | Aesthetics | Tensile structures | Construction management | Structural design | Shell structures | Concrete structures | Concrete | Engineering history | North America | United States

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