Star Beam Construction Milwaukee Memorial Building. Sketch US Embassy, London, With Eero Saarinen US Embassy, London, With Eero Saarinen

About this talk

Running time: 26 minutes

The late Frank Newby was one of Britain's most eminent structural engineers. He joined the practice of Felix J. Samuely on completing his studies at Cambridge, and became a partner in 1956 at the age of 30. In 1952 he won a scholarship to the USA for a year, where he worked variously with Konrad Wachsmann (see The Art Of Joining), Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen (see Wright Started It, Corbu Gave It Form, Mies Added Control) and Buckminster Fuller (see The Story Of A Quest), from all of whom he acknowledges he learned a great deal.

Back in England, he speaks of work he did with Edward D. Mills on the British Industrial Pavilion at Brussels Expo '58, with Stirling & Gowan (see Oscillating and Life & Work) on their Leicester and Oxford University buildings, with Cedric Price (see Ten Californian Architects and Technology Is The Answer But What Was The Question?) on the Aviary for London Zoo, with Percy Thomas Partnership on Clifton Cathedral at Bristol, and with Spero Daltas on a number of major buildings in the Middle East.

His portfolio contains a host of award-winning buildings designed with award-winning practices like Ahrends Burton & Koralek (see The Representation Of Opposites), SOM, YRM, and on the strength of this he was presented in 1985 with the prestigious and rarely-awarded Gold Medal of Britain's Institution of Structural Engineers.

Newby organised exhibitions and wrote and lectured widely. A lot of his effort was directed towards the introduction of courses for engineers, the history of engineering in architecture, and for architects, the explanation of structures. In his talk he says that his basic ideas did not change over the years, but merely developed. He refers to routes of stiffness and the creation of structures by producing frameworks which have to be stable and which are made up of small pieces. He maintains that the architect should use the engineer as his tool, the more so as techniques develop.

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Frank Newby

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