Vladimir Shukhov and the Invention of Hyperboloid Structures

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by Elizabeth C. English, LSU Hurricane Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, english@hurricane.lsu.edu,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structures Congress 2005: Metropolis and Beyond

Abstract: Vladimir Shukhov was a brilliant structural engineer who lived and worked in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Besides the innovations he brought to the oil industry and the construction of numerous bridges and buildings, he was the inventor of a new family of doubly-curved structural forms. These forms, based on non-Euclidean hyperbolic geometry, are known today as hyperboloids of revolution. Shukhov developed not only many varieties of light-weight hyperboloid towers and roof systems, but also the mathematics for their analysis. Unfortunately Shukhov's work is poorly known today, particularly in the West; however, his direct influence may be seen in the work of two of the most important artist-architects of his time, as well as, more recently, two Western engineers.

Subject Headings: Cables | Infrastructure construction | Curvature | Geometrics | Industrial facilities | Roofs | Innovation | Russia

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