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The man who created the Sears tower in Chicago...........

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    The man who created the Sears tower in Chicago...........

    The man who created the Sears tower in Chicago...........

    Fazlur R. Khan (1929-1982)
    The Technical man must not be lost in his own Technology. Life is art, drama, musicand, most importantly, people.

    Fazlur Khan, inscription on a plaque in the lobby of the Ontario Center, the last building he designed.

    Fazlur Rahman Khan was the father of modern-day tall buildings. His creative yet realistic designs helped make high-rise construction possible in the 1960s and 1970s and are a legacy to todays engineers. Khan helped create structures such as the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower. (For more information on these innovative structures, visit: These projects utilize a tubular system method of construction that Khan popularized. The Hancock Center features a braced tube and the Sear Tower uses a bundled tube. Both feature shear wall frame interaction systems and composite tubes. Khans work also spreads far beyond Chicago to places like Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he designed the Haj Terminal, the building that boasts the worlds largest tent-style fiberglass roof.

    Khan graduated first in his undergraduate civil engineering class in 1950 from Bengel Engineering College in India. In August of that year, he began to work for the East Pakistan government as an assistant engineer with the Communications and Buildings Department. There he worked to create reinforced concrete bridges and buildings. The following year Khan began teaching at the Ahsanullah Engineering College. He stayed there until 1952, when the University of Illinois awarded him a Fulbright Scholarship. Khans studies led to a Master of Science degree in theoretical and applied mechanics. He also earned a Master of Science degree and eventually a doctorate in structural engineering.

    Khan joined the engineering firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in August of 1955, where he oversaw the design of seven highway and railroad bridges for the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 1957, he become an executive engineer for the Karachi Development Authority in Pakistan. Khan returned to Chicago and SOM in 1960. Five years later, Khan began work on the John Hancock Center, which was completed in 1969. Khan then set his sights on projects like the Sears Tower, which was completed in 1974, and the Ontario Center, which was not completed until four years after his death.

    Khan was recognized for his monumental accomplishments. He was named one of Engineering News-Records Men Who Served the Best Interests of the Construction Industry in the years 1965, 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1979. The publication also named him Man of the Year in 1972. In 1973, Khan was elected into the National Academy of Engineering. That same year, he received AISCs J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award, the Institutes top honor. With tall buildings as his trademark, Fazlur Khan set a high standard for generations to come.

    To learn even more about this extraordinary man, AISC encourages you to please visit the wonderful website his daughter, Yasmin Sabina Khan, has created in Fazlur Khan's honor at There you will find out more about Fazlur Khan, his innovations, his milestones and his daughter.
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    A Faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.