09.2009 - Matthys Levy Addresses IASS Jubilee Symposium in Spain
Levy explored structural solutions for water conservation as a newly elected Honorary Member of IASS (the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures).
New York, NY; Valencia, Spain – Weidlinger's chairman emeritus Matthys Levy was elected an Honorary Member of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) for his “distinguished record of outstanding achievement.” Levy presented his most recent paper, Saving the Blue Planet, on September 28, 2009, at a plenary session of the organization’s 50th anniversary symposium in Valencia, Spain (www.iassvalencia2009.com). He challenged IASS members to “forge a new environmental consciousness” and create solutions for the severe shortages of potable water that are likely to occur in the near future.
“As engineers and designers, we are equipped to create structures that contain water efficiently,” said Levy. To this end, Levy singled out reservoir covers as offering “the best opportunities for innovation, as every town or city in the world has to minimize evaporation of its water supply and to prevent the introduction of contaminants into its water storage facilities.” He argued that as most reservoirs are irregularly shaped, floating covers or flexible membranes would make more efficient covers than concrete or aluminum structures.
Throughout his career, Levy has designed special structures, starting with a modest temporary fabric structure for an outdoor theater, the first of its kind in the country, and culminating in far from modest megastructures for the Georgia Dome Stadium (Atlanta), Javits Convention Center (New York), and Rose Center for Earth and Space (New York). Levy has presented numerous papers at IASS symposiums, most recently on a “twinstar” stadium in La Plata, Bolivia (now under construction) and on China’s first fabric roof (for the Shanghai Stadium). He has also lectured on more general topics such as innovation, computers and conceptual design, and hypar-tensegrity domes (triangulated cable structure stiffened with flying posts), for which he holds three patents.
Levy is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the author of more than 50 technical papers and seven books, including Why the Wind Blows (2007), an entertaining account of the science of weather and climate change that urges action on global warming. Last year, he was awarded the Thomas Egleston Medal for Distinguished Engineering Achievement, the highest honor given by the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association.