Today’s Google doodle is celebrating the 88th birthday of famed Bangladeshi-American structural engineer and architect Fazlur Rahman Khan. Perhaps most famous for his work on the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center, Kahn played an integral role in the rise of super-tall skyscrapers.
Khan is credited with multiple engineering and architectural innovations including the tube structural system, the framed tube, the bundled tube (notably used for the Willis Tower), as well as many other structural systems. Khan also developed a new earthquake-resistant structural system that usedshock-absorbing soft stories.
Khan was a partner at SOM, where his collaborations with Bruce Graham would define the company’s most famous buildings throughout the late 1960s and 70s. He passed away in 1988, but his name lives on in the form of multiple awards including the IALCCE’s Fazlur R. Khan Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal. Perhaps most notably, his legacy lives on through the continued use of his engineering concepts. From the Petronas Towers to the Burj Khalifa, his solutions for super-tall buildings have become a benchmark for the tallest buildings in the world.