Shell Pioneers

An International Symposium in Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Franz Dischinger

This fall marks the 125th anniversary of the birth Franz Anton Dischinger. Born on 8 October 1887, he started working as civil engineer for the construction company Dyckerhoff & Widmann in 1913 and was appointed in 1932 to the Chair of Massive Construction of Berlin’s Polytechnic Institute, which he kept until his retirement in 1951. Undoubtedly, he can be considered one of the most important German engineers of the 20th century. Visionary were, above all, his contributions to thin concrete shell construction (and the resulting "Zeiss-Dywidag shells") and his thoughts on the prestressing of concrete. But he also made outstanding contributions in other areas such as the construction of suspension and cable-stayed bridges.

The Chair of Construction History and Structural Preservation of the BTU Cottbus (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Lorenz) and the  Chair of Conceptual and Structural Design of the TU Berlin (Prof. Dr. sc. Techn. Mike Schlaich) take Dischingers 125th anniversary as an opportunity to pay tribute to this outstanding engineering personality by conjointly arranging an international symposium at the TU Berlin on 18 and 19 October 2012. Both institutions are connected in particular ways to Dischinger's legacy: The Berlin department is the direct successor institution of Dischinger's former Chair of Massive Construction, and at BTU Cottbus a research project about Franz Dischinger, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), is being conducted since 2009.

Many aspects in connection with Dischinger’s work are still unknown, such as the wider context of his activity in thin concrete shell design and construction. Research on pre-war thin concrete shell construction usually focuses on national engineering heroes. The extensive cross-border exchange of information on the latest technical improvements, however, makes it fairly implausible that these engineers were unaffected by the developments in other countries.

The symposium “Shell Pioneers” wants to close this knowledge gap. A group of leading experts will therefore discuss the international dimension in the work of some of the most important innovators in the field of early thin shell construction. Naturally, special attention will be paid to the role of Dischinger, whose theoretical and practical work was so widely influential.

The event will be conducted in English.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Franz Dischinger: New Aspects of the Life and Work of a Civil Engineering Master
Roland May, BTU Cottbus
Presentation in the course of the lecture series „Praktiken & Potenziale von Bautechnikgeschichte“

Reception in the historic Peter-Behrens-Halle

Friday, 19 October 2012

Welcome addresses
Mike Schlaich, TU Berlin
Werner Lorenz, BTU Cottbus

From Biebrich into the World: The Dissemination of the Zeiss-Dywidag System
Werner Lorenz, BTU Cottbus
Roland May, BTU Cottbus

The Autarchic Origins of the Italian Thin Shells
Tullia Iori, Università di Roma Tor Vergata

Pioneer Concrete Shells in Spain
Pepa Cassinello, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Conoids and Hypars: Early Thin Shell Design in France and Benelux
Bernard Espion, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Anton Tedesko: The Communicator
Jörg Schlaich, Berlin
Shells Today
Mike Schlaich, TU Berlin

Discussion: The Future of Thin Concrete Shells — Learning from History?
Moderator: Arndt Goldack, TU Berlin

Date & Place

Zeit & Ort

18. & 19. October 2012

TU Berlin,  Campus Wedding
TIB1, Gebäude 13B, Hörsaal 13B-B

Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25
13555 Berlin

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