American Society of Civil Engineers

Vladimir Shukhov and the Invention of Hyperboloid Structures

by Elizabeth C. English, (LSU Hurricane Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 E-mail:
Section: Cable Structures, pp. 1-9, (doi:

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Document type: Conference 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.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Structural design
Russia (after 1991)