Grand Opening of the Fazlur Kahn Exhibition with Keynote Lecture 9-9-2011

“Personal and Professional Reflections about a great Engineer” by Prof. David Billington

We have the pleasure of inviting you to the Grand Opening of the Exhibition”Fazlur Khan: Structural Artist of Urban Building Forms” on Friday 9th of September 2011 at 4:30pm in the Friend Center Auditorium 101.

In his keynote lecture, Prof. David Billington, will reflect upon his personal and professional experiences with Fazlur Khan:

In 1961 searching for a new structures appointment at Princeton, I phoned Chester Siess for his best student. He responded “Fazlur Khan” so I called him but he preferred design to teaching. In the late 1960’s two submitted papers of mine on aesthetics of structures were harshly critiqued and turned down. I later learned that the critic was Fazlur Khan (he was correct in his review). Finally in 1971 I met him and invited him to Princeton where he lectured on April 11, 1972. He told me of his deep interest in Robert Maillart’s structures and agreed to write a paper comparing Maillart’s bridges to his own buildings for our Maillart conference. Khan’s elegant presentation together with those of Christian Menn and Felix Candela convinced me of a tradition in structural art.

Khan returned to Princeton several more times, one of those being only a few weeks before he died. This presentation will present such personal and professional recollections of Fazlur Khan, who became a good friend and colleague of mine through these experiences and others that I will share. I will also reflect on the influence Khan had on others as discussed in a memorial session that Myron Goldsmith and I organized at the ASCE October 1983 convention in Houston (which led us to edit a book devoted to Khan and published by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat at Lehigh in 1986).

The lecture, which features in the 2011 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series of Lehigh University, will be followed by a reception and visit to the exhibition in the Friend Center Lobby and Library.

If you would like to attend this event, please rsvp to or More information can be found on the event's flyer. The lecture will be webcast live. You can view it at the following site: The path to the site is as follows: Go to Princeton University's main page, in the 'shortcuts' drop down menu on the upper right, select 'Web Media' and you are there.