William T. Zuk Memorial Lecture To Be Given at U.Va. Architecture School

March 4, 2011 — John Ochsendorf, associate professor of building technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give the William T. Zuk Memorial Lecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture on March 23, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., in Campbell Hall, room 153. 

Ochsendorf's lecture, "Form and Forces in Masonry: From Gothic to Guastavino," will address the structural and architectural characteristics of masonry vault structures, ranging from Gothic cathedrals to 19th-century Guastavino vaulting, a method that uses thin terra cotta tiles which can be erected without temporary construction support. Guastavino tiles were used in the Stanford White's reconstruction of the U.Va. Rotunda, replacing the original timber dome that was destroyed in the fire of 1895.

A structural engineer and architectural historian, Ochsendorf works to preserve historic structures and to reinterpret ancient technologies for contemporary use. He has studied a variety of alternative engineering traditions, including hand-woven, fiber suspension bridges of the Inca Empire and suspension and cable-stayed bridges in Japan. More recently, Ochsendorf has explored the structural safety of such historic monuments as French and Spanish Romanesque churches.

Ochsendorf holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a master's from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. He received the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize for 2007-08, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Madrid, Spain.

About the William T. Zuk Memorial Lecture

The lecture was established to honor the memory of William T. Zuk (1924-2005), professor at the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1955 until 1964 and subsequently professor at the U.Va. School of Architecture until his retirement in 1992. Zuk was an expert in structural design who inspired generations of students and faculty at the school, and was the youngest faculty member to achieve full professor status at the University upon his promotion in 1957.

— By Jane Ford

Media Contact

Ellen Cathey

School of Architecture