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July 1, 2022

Jack Christiansen’s Cylindrical Concrete Shells

Sprague, Tyler S. (2018). Jack Christiansen’s Cylindrical Concrete Shells. Journal Of The International Association For Shell And Spatial Structures, 59(2), 131 – 140.

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This article examines the early thin shell concrete designs of the structural engineer Jack Christiansen (1927-2017), a 2016 recipient of the Eduardo Torroja Medal. With no proper training in shell behavior, Christiansen started his career designing cylindrical concrete shells based on the 1952 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Manual 31. This manual, and its approach to solving indeterminate behavior, both directed Christiansen's early design and provided a framework for significant creative work outside its bounds. His designs of long, spanning shells and short, arching shells (between 1954 and 1958) were adapted to a variety of architectural spaces, utilizing emerging structural methods like prestressing. These designs constitute the first era of Christiansen's career, and set the stage for more varied shell geometries to come.


Historic Structures; Concrete Shells; Cylindrical Shells; Modernism; Indeterminate Analysis Methods