Boothby releases book on empirical structural design

06/15/18

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Thomas Boothby, professor of architectural engineering, has released his second book, titled “Empirical Structural Design for Architects, Engineers and Builders.”

The book discusses empirical design, a design method driven by observation and past experiences, as a way for architects and engineers to make key structural design decisions.

Published by ICE Publishing, “Empirical Structural Design for Architects, Engineers and Builders” is written with for those with a basic understanding of the building and construction industry. It focuses on determining materials, configurations and sizes for elements using proven ratios, general rules of thumb, standard design practices and accepted minimum sizes.

After teaching structural technology to architectural students at Penn State for 26 years, Boothby said he has discovered that the training structural engineering students receive isn’t always applicable training for architecture students.

“A professional architect needs to understand span and space limitations for various structural materials and assemblies, rather than detailed design of beams and columns,” Boothby said.  “Empirical design is a much more efficient way to equip an architect or builder with this skill.”

In addition to helping architecture students, Boothby also believes the method is also applicable in early structural engineering courses.

“There is value to engineers. [Younger engineering students] don’t always see the totality of design,” Boothby said. “It’s a quicker way to understand the totality of building.”

Though Boothby feels empirical design is useful for both architects and engineers, he stresses that it can not be used for the final design of a building to meet modern code requirements. It is simply an additional resource that focuses on designing by sizing and rations.  

You must retain a qualified engineer to do that [meet modern code requirements],” he said. “This is just another way to make decisions about materials and sizes.”

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Samantha Chavanic

smh5218@engr.psu.edu

Thomas Boothby headshot

Thomas Boothby is a professor of architectural engineering at Penn State.

“A professional architect needs to understand span and space limitations for various structural materials and assemblies, rather than detailed design of beams and columns. Empirical design is a much more efficient way to equip an architect or builder with this skill.”

 
 

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Widely acknowledged as one of the top Architectural Engineering programs in the world, the Penn State AE Department is dedicated to providing outstanding academic excellence to all of our students. The AE program is focused on preparing students and conducting research in the design, engineering, and construction of building projects.

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The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394