The Citicorp Center is a 59-story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan completed in 1977. At the time, it was the fifth tallest skyscraper built in New York City and it still ranks in the top 20. The lead structural engineer, William LeMessurier, was well-known and of high reputation. The design featured a cantilevered approach with supports running up the middle of the sides of the building, rather than on its corners. After construction, it was discovered that quartering winds – winds coming at the corner of the skyscraper as opposed to head-on toward its faces – were a much larger factor than previously thought. So much so that the newly constructed architectural gem was actually in danger of coming down in the kind of storm that might come every 16 years. Indeed, during deliberations over how to proceed, it became known that a ‘16 year storm’ was in fact on its way.
This course describes the actions of those involved and asks questions about their decisions leading up to and facing such a situation. The first fundamental canon of engineering ethics from the National Society of Professional Engineers directs engineers to, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, “hold paramount the health, safety, and welfare of the public.” The third fundamental canon states that engineers shall “issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner,” and the fourth holds that the engineers shall, “act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.” Recent changes to the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) code of ethics have been put in place to help engineers navigate conflicts among stakeholders in civil engineering projects. In this case, actions were taken such that catastrophe was avoided, but were canons and codes of ethics skirted in order to save the day?
At the end of this course, attendees will be able to:
- Understand the relevant technical details of the Citicorp Tower Case
- Understand the different organizations, companies, and agencies involved in the design and oversight of the Citicorp Tower
- Understand the most recent changes to the American Civil Society for Civil Engineering (ASCE) Code of Ethics
- Apply the NSPE and ASCE Codes of Ethics to the role of engineers involved in the Citicorp Tower Case
Total Number of approved PDH Hours: 1