Art: The Art of Structure

As architecture blossoms out in billowing forms of reinforced concrete, many a modern architect is turning back to study the work of the handful of pioneers who blazed the way for modern shell structures. One of the foremost and least known is Engineer Eduardo Torroja y Miret, 59. A short (5 ft. 4½ in.), bald-domed Spaniard, Torroja was throwing wafer-thin slabs of concrete up into space as early as 1933. His race-track stands, soccer stadiums, marketplaces, churches and aqueducts are only now getting the recognition they deserve as ancestors of some of today's most spectacular engineering feats.

Torroja (pronounced toe-roe-ha) has long...

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