The Quiet Revolution in Skyscraper Design

by Eugene E. Dallaire, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1983, Vol. 53, Issue 5, Pg. 54-59

Document Type: Feature article


Since the 1960's, there has been a major change in the philosophy for designing high-rise buildings. Up to that time, most buildings were designed to resist wind forces by means of rigid column-beam connections called rigid frames. During the 1960's this method was challenged. It was argued that the rigid frame was appropriate only for buildings of certain height range and that there is an appropriate structural system for different building heights including semi-rigid frames, rigid frames, frames with bracing in the building core, framed tubes, and diagonally braced tubes. Other innovations are discussed in this interview with Joe Colaco, president of CBM Engineers, Houston, Texas, and a leading structural engineer.

Subject Headings: Rigid frames | Building design | High-rise buildings | Building systems | Bracing | Tubes (structure) | Wind forces | Columns | Texas | United States

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