Defining Wind Engineering
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
Known as the father of modern wind engineering, Alan Davenport’s research into wind’s impact on built and natural environments improved the stability of structures around the world. In 1965, he established at Western University the first-of-its-kind Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory for civil engineers. The tunnel allowed him and his colleagues to detect vulnerabilities and to redesign tall buildings and long bridges, including Confederation Bridge, to be more resilient. Davenport’s equation for measuring wind flow and load increased the safety of many of the world’s tallest buildings, including the CN Tower and the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower).