“Concrete was not a Crime”

For each structural engineer there is a material that they feel close to in their hearts. For me there are two: Steel and Timber. Until I learned steel design analysis in the senior year of my university education, I was thinking about leaving engineering and becoming a cinema director and I believe this explains how much steel and detail means to me.

While my relationship to steel and timber is as such, I discovered the relationship between concrete and engineers like Nervi and Musmeci. I saw the innovative fixture forms they created with reinforced concrete and ferrocement and I saw shell engineers like Torroja, Isler and Candela where they used forces piece by piece and created forms. Thanks to them, I realized that the art of engineering in architecture and infrastructure is not limited to steel and timber and there are concrete systems solved with caution that create great opportunities.

I have been trying to implement these opportunities in our country and in my projects by creating reinforced concrete, fiber concrete plates (GFRC, UHPC, textile concrete) and truss elements that provides using engineering details as architectural details. ParkKare Zonaro Apartments is among these projects where we designed concrete vaulted slabs together with SanalArc. In this project we applied a RC slab system, similar to historic vaulted slabs, which had rib beams with 60-70 cm array distance and 10 cm tall vaults. You can reach full context of my article about this project in the BetonArt June issue at our blog where the solutions we created with Fibrobeton and the full context of the article is shared. I believe I have partially accomplished what I have been chasing for a while; the deep state of engineering in structural concrete with innovative detailing and formwork design.

I appreciate to the engineers and architect who helped me sympathize concrete and put it among the materials in my heart. They simply proved the unexpected. If this material helps to maintain the occupational happiness and provide opportunities to make innovative things even for someone who waggishly says ‘Do you know why I like RC? Because there is steel in it!’ then I love that material.

Written by Author

Ahmet Topbaş "Founder and Director at ATEKNIK. After his undergraduate study at Istanbul Technical Univesity as a structural engineer, he studied MBA at Georgia State and obtained his MSc in Structural Engineering at Columbia University of NYC. Half of his 22-year engineering experience has taken place in the USA, and he holds a P.E., Professional Engineering license. He teaches at engineering and architecture schools in Istanbul part time as a visiting lecturer. He is passionate about Learning, Swimming, Travel, Music, and Cinema. He plans to do more of Snowboarding and many other things after his kids grow up a bit more."