Structural Architecture: Unlocking Design Potential through Collaboration

A Lecture by Patrick S. McCAfferty

Structural Architecture: Unlocking Design Potential through Collaboration

© Boston Architectural College; Video by: Matt Gelineau

Abstract: The marriage of engineering technology with architectural creativity has enabled contemporary design to push boundaries in ways unimaginable only a decade ago. When properly employed, advanced computational analysis, materials technology, and the trained eye of the engineer can profoundly enhance the palette of architectural expression.

This presentation will address the role of the structural engineer in contemporary architectural design. The discussion will explore the ways in which formal funicularity, non-linear computation, and clear and open dialogue and collaboration can unlock hidden architectural design potential. Examples will be drawn from a number of the presenter's current and past work, including the 5 million sf Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore (Safdie Architects), the 7 million sf passenger terminal building at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Atkins), the 10 million sf Chongqing Raffles City Development in Chongqing, China (Safdie Architects), and the brand new Vietnamese-German University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Machado and Silvetti Associates).

Patrick McCafferty is an Associate Principal with the international design firm Arup, and a Lecturer at Harvard University. He began his career as an American Scholar in Arup's London offices upon receiving degrees in structural engineering from Cornell University. He spent six years in the firm's New York office before joining Arup's Boston office in 2005 where he leads the structural engineering practice.

Patrick specializes in the design of innovative and architecturally expressed structures. A professional engineer in five US States, his broad experience includes international management and the design of museums, performance venues, airports, stadia, high rise, bridges, facades, and sculpture. Patrick was named by Consulting-Specifying Engineer Magazine as among the top 40-under-40 engineers in the United States, was a member of faculty in MIT's Department of Architecture, and has served as an advisor to Cornell University's Department of Civil Engineering. He is a frequent architectural juror at numerous universities throughout the United States and abroad, including the Boston Architectural College, Harvard University, MIT, Columbia University, Pratt Institute, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Cyprus. He is currently a member of faculty in Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

Patrick sits on the Editorial Board of ArchitectureBoston magazine and was twice named to the jury of the Boston Society of Architect's Harleston Parker Medal, the annual award established in 1921 to honor the most beautiful building in Boston.