He had considered the stresses of head-on winds but had not calculated those from other angles. We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. He was the youngest of four children of William James LeMessurier Sr., who owned a dry-cleaning business, and the former Bertha Sherman, a homemaker. Citigroup eyes suburban offices so workers can spread out, Nightingale partnership closes on $175M purchase of 111 Wall, Extell scores $700M refi for three Manhattan buildings, DeKalb Market Hall creator bringing new food hall to Midtown, Banks see uptick in mortgages, but remain wary ahead of potential Fed interest rate cut, NYC is on the hunt for an Amazon replacement in Queens, Richman Group lands $189M for massive East Harlem project, Citigroup downsizing will leave big void at One Court Square. By clicking Subscribe you agree to our Privacy Policy. The story of Citicorp Center’s structural engineer, William LeMessurier, 3. is instructive to those in the design industry. The building’s repairs, which were kept secret from the public, did not become fully known until an article in The New Yorker in 1995. With hurricane season fast approaching, LeMessurier took no chances. When planning for the skyscraper began in the early 1970s, the northwest corner of the proposed building site was occupied by St. Peter's Lutheran Church. Please Allow Javascript and reload this page. Later the Red Cross estimated that 200,000 people could die if the structure, which weighs 25,000 tons, collapsed. In 1978, after the building was completed and occupied, Mr. LeMessurier discovered that it had a flaw: If hurricane-force winds — 70 miles an hour or more — hit it at a 45-degree angle, the building could weaken and possibly topple. Instead of being vulnerable to a potentially lethal problem from a hurricane of the strength that shows up every 16 years, the building is now believed to be able to withstand a storm of the sort that might occur once in 700 years. Six weeks into Citicorp's repair, a major storm, Hurricane Ella, was off Cape Hatteras and heading for New York. ... et le comportement responsable de LeMessurier, qui prévint la Citicorp en dépit des risques que cela présentait pour sa carrière est aujourd'hui étudié comme modèle de comportement éthique. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. On August 2, 1978, LeMessurier and Stubbins attempted to meet with Citicorp’s chairman Walter Wriston. In 1978, William J. LeMessurier, one of the nation’s leading structural engineers, discovered after Citicorp Center was completed and occupied, conceptual errors pertaining to … He stresses the importance of admitting mistakes and correcting them. LeMessurier told his story in his building engineering courses at Harvard University as an example of the benefits of blowing the whistle on oneself. While Mr. LeMessurier was overseeing the Citicorp repairs, a newspaper reporter tried to reach him, having heard something was wrong with the building. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. We are having some technical difficulties. It all started in June 1978, with a phone call from an engineering student to William LeMessurier. Mr. Weinstein sent her the architectural plans for the Citicorp Tower and many of his engineering calculations for the building. This Web site was produced for PBS Online by WGBH. He later learned of an aggravating problem: Unknown to him, the Citicorp building’s braces had been joined with bolted joints, a cheaper method but one accepted in the industry, instead of with the far stronger welded joints. Engineer(s): William LeMessurier and Associates. in building engineering and construction in 1953. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. This design allowed the northwest corner of the building to cantilever 72 feet over the new church. They set the 59-story tower on four massive columns, positioned at the center of each side, rather than at the corners. LeMessurier also emphasizes the respect and responsibility that comes with obtainin… But the more he thought about the problem, the more it concerned him. The 59-story Midtown East building’s chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had initially designed a structure with nine-story stilts at the midpoint of each side. The 59-story Midtown East building’s chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had initially designed a structure with nine-story stilts at the midpoint of each side. LeMessurier flew back to Boston that evening and met Stubbins just as Stubbins arrived home from a trip. In 1978, the skyscraper's chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, discovered a potentially fatal flaw in the building's design: the skyscraper's bolted joints were too weak to withstand 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts. Mr. LeMessurier majored in mathematics at Harvard and earned a B.A. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly.