Fazlur Khan

By: Bryce Buchanan

Backgroud Information

Fazlur Khan was born on April 3, 1929 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a child growing up, his family lived in a small village (Bhandarikandii) with not much money. Fazlur had 2 brothers and 1 sister. His dad was a very respected math teacher who later published many books on the subject, and his mom stayed at home . Fazlur as a kid was very stubborn and had a very quick temper. He didn't even want to be schooled until his mom convinced him that it was for the best. Almost every night, his father and him would sit down at the kitchen table and discuss his future and how his attitude was affecting his dream. Fazlur was always tinkering with something mechanical.

Khan's Road to Glory

Khan was very interested with the engineering field, and decided to get his education in that field. However, his family couldn't pay for him to go to college, he had to get scholarships. This motivated him to become a hard worker. He went to Bengal Engineering college, University of Calcutta, Ahsanullah Engineering college, and University of Dhaka. He earned 2 master degrees! One in Structural Engineering and the other in Theoretical and applied Mechanics.

Khan's invention

In the 1950's technology started to grow. The world had a demand for bigger and better things. Khan for the first part of his life worked at SOM, a computer company. SOM was a basic computer, but it could draw up architectural designs. This is where Khan had an idea. He was going to revolutionize the way people see the world. He was going to create the world's first skyscraper! The problem previous engineer's had were the horizontal forces that would be acting on the building (wind). This is where Khan rose above the other engineer's, and invented the Tube Structural System. This invention had 3 variations for high rise buildings.

  • Framed tube
  • Trussed tube
  • Bundled tube

These variations gave the high rises support from horizontal forces and lateral forces. Without Khan, skycraper's might have never been invented.

Major world events and Khan's family life

Khan has lived in many different places during his life. He's lived all over Pakistan, and Chicago Illinois for the last part of his life. There weren't really any world events going on when he was inventing his idea, but their were the roaring 50's. The 50's is when technology started to spike, and Khan saw this as a great opportunity to take advantage of the computers. He could sketch designs that engineers before him couldn't do.

Khan's impact

Khan received many awards such as The Aga khan award for Architecture, Independence day award, and AIA institute honor for distinguished achievement. He later on married a women named Liselotte, and they had a daughter together name Yasmin. Khan achieved a lot in his life, ever since the day his dad inspired him to never give up. Sadly, Khan died on March 27, 1982, in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. He was 52 died when he died of a heart attack. People say that he had patience and gentleness and he provided guidance for others, while working on projects. People described him as calm and collected always eager to get others opinions. All in all, he sounded like a great man to be around. I think he's inspiring because he started from nothing and became something.
“The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people.”

― Fazlur Khan