Alan Garnett Davenport

Last updated
Alan Garnett Davenport
BornSeptember 19, 1932
DiedJuly 19, 2009
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s)Sheila Smith
Engineering career
Discipline Civil engineer

Alan Garnett Davenport (September 19, 1932 July 19, 2009) was a professor at the University of Western Ontario and founder of its Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory. He analyzed the wind's effect on a significant portion of the world's tallest buildings including the building formerly known as the CN Tower, Sears Tower, Citicorp Center, and the World Trade Center. He was a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor.

University of Western Ontario public research university located in London, Ontario, Canada

University of Western Ontario (UWO), corporately branded as Western University as of 2012 and commonly shortened to Western, is a public research university in London, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is on 455 hectares of land, surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and the Thames River bisecting the campus's eastern portion. The university operates twelve academic faculties and schools. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

CN Tower Communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Canada

The CN Tower is a 553.3 m-high (1,815.3 ft) concrete communications and observation tower located in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Built on the former Railway Lands, it was completed in 1976. Its name "CN" originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. Following the railway's decision to divest non-core freight railway assets prior to the company's privatization in 1995, it transferred the tower to the Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation responsible for real estate development.

Citigroup Center Office skyscraper in Manhattan, New York

The Citigroup Center is an office tower in New York City, located at 53rd Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue in midtown Manhattan. It was built in 1977 to house the headquarters of Citibank. It is 915 feet tall, and has 59 floors with 1.3 million square feet of office space.


Early life

Davenport was born in Madras, India and grew up in South Africa, attending Michaelhouse. [1] He studied at Cambridge University for his B.A. and M.A. in mechanical science. He went on to receive an M.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol. His thesis of "The Treatment of Wind Loads on Tall Towers and Long Span Bridges in the Turbulent Wind" was the focus of his professional career. [2]

Michaelhouse building in Africa

Michaelhouse is a full boarding senior school for boys founded in 1896. It is located in the Balgowan valley in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

He also served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Royal Canadian Navy Maritime warfare branch of Canadas military

The Royal Canadian Navy is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the unified Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2017, The Royal Canadian Navy operates 12 frigates, 4 patrol submarines, 12 coastal defence vessels and 8 unarmed patrol/training vessels, as well as several auxiliary vessels. The Royal Canadian Navy consists of 8,500 Regular Force and 5,100 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by 5,300 civilians. Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is the current Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and Chief of the Naval Staff.

He married Sheila Smith, with whom he had four children.


Davenport and his laboratory contributed to the engineering and design of many tall buildings and bridges, including the Willis Tower, the World Trade Center and the Tsing Ma Bridge. They analyzed the wind flow and load over the structures using wind tunnels, detecting vulnerabilities which required compensating changes in the design. [2] [3]

Tsing Ma Bridge Suspension bridge in Hong Kong

Tsing Ma Bridge is a bridge in Hong Kong. It is the world's 11th-longest span suspension bridge, and was the second longest at time of completion. The bridge was named after the two islands it connects, namely Tsing Yi and Ma Wan. It has two decks and carries both road and rail traffic, which also makes it the largest suspension bridge of this type. The bridge has a main span of 1,377 metres (4,518 ft) and a height of 206 metres (676 ft). The span is the longest of all bridges in the world carrying rail traffic.

He was a founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering [1] and was the founding research director for the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a 1999 partnership between the University of Western Ontario and the Insurance board of Canada. Its goal is to improve construction practices and standards to better withstand extreme weather conditions. [4]

<i>Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering</i> journal

The Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1974 and published by the NRC Research Press. It covers environmental, hydrotechnical, structure, and construction engineering, as well as engineering mechanics, engineering materials, and a history of civil engineering. Papers are available on the Internet in advance of print issues and are available in full-text HTML and PDF formats.

Davenport authored more than 200 scientific papers during his career. [5]

He was presented with the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering in 1994, [6] and the Albert Caquot Award in 2001. [7] He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on May 1, 2002 for a lifetime of achievement. [1] [8]

He was honored with the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2005. [9]


He died in London, Ontario due to complications from Parkinson's disease [2]

Related Research Articles

Central Plaza (Hong Kong) skyscraper in Hong Kong

Central Plaza is a 78-storey, 374 m (1,227 ft) skyscraper completed in August 1992 at 18 Harbour Road, in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. It is the third tallest tower in the city after 2 International Finance Centre in Central and the ICC in West Kowloon. It was the tallest building in Asia from 1992 to 1996, until the Shun Hing Square was built in Shenzhen, a neighbouring city. Central Plaza surpassed the Bank of China Tower as the tallest building in Hong Kong until the completion of 2 IFC.

Othmar Ammann Swiss-American structural engineer

Othmar Hermann Ammann was a Swiss-American structural engineer whose bridge designs include the George Washington Bridge, Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge. He also directed the planning and construction of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Leslie Earl Robertson is an American engineer. He was the lead structural engineer of the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in New York City. He has since been structural engineer on numerous other projects, including the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), corporately branded as Ontario Tech University or Ontario Tech, is a public research university located in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Ontario Tech's main campus is co-located with Durham College on approximately 400 acres (160 ha) of land in the northern part of Oshawa. It operates a secondary campus in the downtown region of Oshawa.

Blue Water Bridge

The Blue Water Bridge is a twin-span international bridge across the St. Clair River that links Port Huron, Michigan, United States, and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Water Bridge connects Highway 402 in Ontario with both Interstate 69 (I-69) and Interstate 94 (I-94) in Michigan.

Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest structure and the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. The name Sydney Tower has become common in daily usage; however, the tower has been known as the Sydney Tower Eye, AMP Tower, Flower Tower, Glower Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower, Big Poke, Centrepoint Tower or just Centrepoint.

Henry N. Cobb is an American architect and founding partner with I.M. Pei of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, an international architectural firm based in New York City.

César Pelli Argentine architect

César Pelli was an Argentine architect who designed some of the world's tallest buildings and other major urban landmarks. Some of his most notable contributions included the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the World Financial Center in New York City. The American Institute of Architects named him one of the ten most influential living American architects in 1991 and awarded him the AIA Gold Medal in 1995. In 2008, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat presented him with The Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established in 1972, Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc. (RWDI) is a specialty consulting engineering firm. The RWDI group of companies has offices in Canada, USA, United Kingdom, India, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Gerald D. Hines is the founder and chairman of Hines, a privately held real estate firm with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas.

Wind engineering is a subsets of mechanical engineering, structural engineering, meteorology, and applied physics to analyze the effects of wind in the natural and the built environment and studies the possible damage, inconvenience or benefits which may result from wind. In the field of engineering it includes strong winds, which may cause discomfort, as well as extreme winds, such as in a tornado, hurricane or heavy storm, which may cause widespread destruction. In the fields of wind energy and air pollution it also includes low and moderate winds as these are relevant to electricity production resp. dispersion of contaminants.

The Prix Albert Caquot is an annual prestigious award presented by the French Association of Civil Engineering. It is named after Albert Caquot, a famous and influential French civil engineer. The award is given for a lifetime of scientific and technical achievements, as well as high ethical standards and influence throughout the construction industry. It alternates between French and foreign nominees.

Don Wright Faculty of Music

The Don Wright Faculty of Music is the faculty of music at the University of Western Ontario, commonly referred to among Canadian universities as Western University, in London, Ontario, Canada. 465 undergraduate students and 125 graduate students were enrolled in 2009-2010. It is situated on Western's main campus in Talbot College and the Music Building. Both buildings underwent extensive renovations and additions which were completed in 2018. The Dean is Betty Anne Younker, Associate Deans are John Cuciurean and Catherine Nolan.

Carson Morrison Canadian engineer, professor and author

Carson F. Morrison, P.Eng. (1902–1993) was a university professor, innovative engineer, magazine editor, co-founder of the North American firm Morrison Hershfield, and president of a standards association. He was considered to be a touchstone for professional ethics and morality in engineering. He is remembered for his ideas and advice, knowledge and imagination.

Morrison Hershfield

Morrison Hershfield is an employee-owned professional services firm providing engineering and management consulting services in the areas of energy and industrial, buildings, technology and telecom, transportation, environment, water and wastewater, and land development. The firm has delivered vertical and horizontal infrastructure projects from 16 offices across North America.

Dr. Lynn S. Beedle was an American structural engineer, the founder and the director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, notable also for his design and building of skyscrapers. The New York Times called him "an expert on tall buildings". Beedle is also credited with making Lehigh University a center of research for civil and structural engineering because of his "groundbreaking studies on the properties of steel structures". Beedle was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1972 “for contributions to steel structures research and design practice, especially plastic design and residual stress effects.” The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat honored Beedle with creation of the Lynn S. Beedle Achievement Award. Beedle was a recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also received Franklin Institute’s Frank P. Brown Medal, as well as the John Fritz Medal, the Berkeley Engineering Alumni Society Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, and was named Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering by Lehigh University.

Joseph Hobson Canadian land surveyor, civil engineer and railway design engineer

Joseph Hobson (1834–1917) was a Canadian land surveyor, civil engineer, and railway design engineer. He was the resident engineer during the construction of the International Railway Bridge and designed the first St. Clair railway tunnel. This was the first underwater railway tunnel between Canada and the USA and, when it opened in 1891, the first undersea tunnel linking two distinct countries and the longest undersea tunnel then constructed.

Ahsan Kareem

Ahsan Kareem is the Robert M. Moran Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (CEEES) at the University of Notre Dame. He is Director of the Nathaz Modeling Laboratory and served as the past Chair at the Department of CEEES at the University of Notre Dame. He currently serves as the President of the International Association for Wind Engineering. He was also the former President of the American Association for Wind Engineering. His fundamental contributions to aerodynamics and aeroelasticity has led to advances in the analysis, design and performance assessment of tall buildings and long span bridges. He has conducted from wind tunnel modeling to stochastic and CFD based simulations and finally to the full-scale monitoring of some of the signature buildings around the world including more recently Burj Khalifa. It utilizes a novel “SmartSync” system featuring “Internet-of-Things” (IoT) concept with built in layers of intelligence for data management and analysis. He has advanced models for damping in tall buildings and motion mitigation devices like tuned liquid dampers from design, prototype testing to post installation monitoring in buildings in the US and in the Pacific-rim. His contributions towards database assisted design through a web-portal recommended in ASCE 7 is used worldwide for designing tall buildings. More recently, his group has embarked on shape optimization of tall buildings based on CFD with embedded topology optimization to configure efficient and optimal structural system for super tall buildings and long span bridges. This work through sensing, computational intelligence and control and actuation technologies is leading to the development of autonomously morphing structures like long span bridge decks and tall buildings.


  1. 1 2 3 "Deaths: Alan Garnett Davenport". The Globe and Mail. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  2. 1 2 3 Martin, Douglas (July 25, 2009). "Alan G. Davenport, Noted Wind Engineer, Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  3. Mayne, Paul. "In Memoriam - Alan Davenport". The University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  4. "Alan Davenport". Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. 2001. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  5. Anderson, Jim (March 31, 2005). "Davenport built career blowing in the wind". The University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  6. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Past Winners
  7. "Scientist Profile: Alan Garnett Davenport". Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  8. "Order of Canada: Alan Davenport". Order of Canada. Retrieved 2009-07-26.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. "2005 Lynn S. Beedle Award Winner". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 17 May 2012.