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The Art of Structural Design: A Swiss Legacy

Works by:

Robert Maillart, Othmar Ammann, Heinz Isler, Christian Menn

The Art of Structural Design: A Swiss Legacy

September 27, 2005–January 21, 2006

Curated by David P. Billington

This exhibition is organized by the Princeton University Art Museum in co-operation with Princeton’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

University of Toronto Art Centre

The University of Toronto Art Centre, in partnership with the U of T Department of Civil Engineering, presents this exploration of the work of Robert Maillart, Othmar Ammann, Heinz Isler and Christian Menn, four Swiss engineers who are widely recognized as the most influential and innovative structural designers of the twentieth century.

“Rarely does a new art form emerge to challenge old ideas about artistic boundaries. This has happened in our present age, with the birth of the art of structural engineering”, says exhibition curator David Billington.

The exhibition also focuses on the two teachers who influenced them: Wilhelm Ritter and Pierre Lardy. Each of these six engineers is known not only for the quality of his work, but also for the elegance and beauty of his designs.

These designs are explained and animated in the exhibition by scale models of some of the designers’ most widely recognized projects; original notebooks by Heinz Isler of Pierre Lardy class lectures; a 47 foot long “hanging book” display with representations of original drawings and photographs; a CD Rom with specially developed project website; a public television documentary of Othmar Ammann, the designer of the George Washington bridge; and an interactive stereoscopic photography display.

Opening Reception

Thursday September 29, 2005, 4:30pm
Featuring David P. Billington
University of Toronto Art Centre

Bridge Design Competition

Praxis & Progress
Thursday January 19, 2006, 6-8pm
University of Toronto Art Centre


Title Image: Anchorage of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, reflecting the cables horizontal pull, vertical pull, and changing slope. Courtesy of David P. Billington.