Shahid Khan gifts $10 million to University of Illinois

September 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Shahid-KhanCHAMPAIGN,IL–Shahid Khan, president of Flex-N-Gate Corporation in Urbana, Illinois, and his wife Ann Carlson Khan, have continued their generous support of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by making a gift of $10 million to fund the new north addition of Huff Hall. The addition, known as the Khan Annex, houses programs of the College of Applied Health Sciences, including the Center on Health, Aging, and Disability and the Master of Public Health program. The Khan Annex was formally dedicated at an event on Thursday, September 22.

“We wanted to invest in a facility that would support the mission of the College of Applied Health Sciences: education and outreach that will promote health across the lifespan and will improve the self-sufficiency and quality of life of all people,” said Ann Khan. “This facility will provide a modern environment for faculty and students to collaborate in their education and research.”

The Khan Annex provides over 24,000 square feet of state-of-the-art of laboratory, instructional and professional collaboration facilities. The Center on Health, Aging, and Disability includes a conference room, a project development “Collaboratory,” a video conferencing room, and a graduate student resource center. The new addition also will house the James K. and Karen S. McKechnie Laboratory, classroom facilities, and faculty offices. The addition to this iconic building completes the architectural design envisioned nearly 90 years ago when Huff Hall was still on the drawing board. The original design called for two wings, connected by a central structure to form a Block I in the heart of this historic campus. The Khan Annex completes the original vision.

Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan are longtime supporters of the University of Illinois. Beneficiaries of their generosity include Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the University Library, the College of Business, and the College of Applied Health Sciences, where they have funded five endowed Khan Professorships. The Khans have also funded the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the University of Illinois, home to the University’s men’s and women’s tennis teams.

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Fazlur Rahman Khan

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Syed Aslam

File-FRKhanFazlur Rahman Khan was born in  1929, in Dhaka, Bengal now Bangladesh. His father, Khan Bahadur Abdur Rahman Khan, was a renowned educationists.  Khan passed the Matriculation Examination from Calcutta in 1944 and was admitted to the Presidency College. He obtained the Engineering Degree securing first position  from Shibpur Engineering College of Calcutta in 1950.  He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Scholarship in 1952 to pursue higher studies in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his PhD degree in Structural Engineering .  In 1955, employed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, he began working in Chicago. During the 1960s and 1970s, he became noted for his designs for Chicago’s 100-story John Hancock Center and 108-story Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world in its time and still the tallest in the United States since its completion in 1974. He died in 1981 at the age of 52 in Chicago.

Dr. Khan is called the Einstein of Structural Engineering and here is why.  His contributions to the field- developing the shear wall frame interaction system, the framed-tube structure, and the tube-in-tube structure-led to significant improvement in structural efficiency. This kind of design  made the construction of tall buildings economically viable. The framed-tube structure has its columns closely spaced around the perimeter of the building, rather than scattered throughout the footprint, while stiff spandrels beams connect these columns at every floor level.   Khan realized that the rigid steel frame structure that had dominated tall building design and construction so long was not the only system fitting for tall buildings is not suitable any more.  His idea  brought a new era of sky scraper evolution in terms of multiple structural systems.

Dr.  Khan’s design innovations significantly improved the construction of high-rise buildings, enabling them to withstand enormous forces generated on these super structures. These new designs opened an economic door for contractors, engineers, architects, and investors, providing vast amounts of real estate space on minimal squire feet  of land.  His tube concept, using all the exterior wall perimeter structure of a building to simulate a thin-walled tube, revolutionized tall building design. The constructions of most super tall skyscrapers since the 1960s, including the construction of the World Trade Center. Terminal Building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is based on a tent-like structure – to afford optimum shade for up to 80,000 pilgrims. Khan used fiberglass and cable to combine the practical with the modern to create the tent like structure which is fully functional for the last 25 years.

The cornerstone of Khan’s approach was that science  in fusion with creativity, can create a design affordable  also in the less affluent parts of the world. Until his death in 1981,  Khan was profoundly concerned with the rapid urbanization of developing countries and called for the application of workable and appropriate forms of technology. He will be remembered for his contributions to the human civilization.

Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

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