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Over 40 years ago, I attended a seminar at which one of my Structural Engineering heroes, John Minasian, spoke.  He had designed the structure for the 605-ft tall Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.  It was designed to resist 200 mph wind and M9.5 earthquake.

I remember John saying that the combined center of gravity of the Tower and its foundation is below grade.  The Wikipedia article says that the tower and the foundation each weigh the same and the center of gravity is 5-ft above grade.

John died last month at age 94; an obituary appeared in the December 2007 issue of the SEAOSC News.

Nels Roselund, SE
South San Gabriel, CA

From: ASC [mailto:ggg(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 2:35 PM
To: Struct EngAssoc



From: Bill Polhemus <bill(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: MODELING: Accounting for a 'Black Box' Supported Structure



It is so nice about those weekend issues that so few people write

and that you can get some readable stuff then.


I read Bill's monologue with a puzzlement.

Not being a real building engineer, I imagine every building being an order of

magnitude heavier than its footing and peers.


If I am right, then you "account" for footings as an addition to a building, not the other way around.

Or is it a partially underground structure?


Sincerely, Gregory from Oz