Contact: Kim Brockway For immediate release
Mario G. Salvadori, Engineer, Architect,
Consultant on Manhattan Project, 90
Mario G. Salvadori, the renowned Columbia University professor who
worked to link the fields of structural engineering and architecture and served as
a consultant on the Manhattan Project, died of natural causes on Wednesday,
June 25, at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was 90.
Dr. Salvadori was the author of ten books on architectural structures
(including Structural Design in Architecture, 1967) and five books on
applied mathematics (including Numerical Methods in Engineering,
1953), many of which have been translated into several languages. He had taught
at Columbia University since 1940, and, at the time of his death, was the James
Renwick Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Applied Science and
Professor of Architecture Emeritus in Columbia's School of Architecture,
Planning and Preservation.
He also was the founder and chairman of the Salvadori Educational Center
on the Built Environment (SECBE), a non-profit educational center at the City
College of New York dedicated to helping inner-city youth appreciate science and
mathematics through a hands-on study of bridges and other structures.
"Aside from being a brilliant mathematician and an outstanding engineer
whose office was considered an ideal training ground for young engineers, Mario
Salvadori was also a charismatic teacher of structures at the School of
Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University," said Kenneth
Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia. "With his boundless
engineering knowledge and deep sense of public commitment, he made a unique
and wide-ranging contribution to both the University and to society at large. He
will be greatly missed."
Born in Rome, Italy, in 1907, Dr. Salvadori received his Ph.D. in
engineering in 1930 and Ph.D. in pure mathematics in 1933, both from the
University of Rome, where he taught until 1938. Soon after joining the faculty at
Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, he worked on the
Manhattan Project (1942-45) and was appointed to the School of Architecture,
Planning and Preservation in 1959. He began his affiliation with Weidlinger
Associates, Inc., the Manhattan engineering firm, as a consultant in 1954, and
rose to the positions of partner, chairman of the board, and finally, Honorary
The author of more than 130 papers on applied mathematics, structures,
and applied mechanics in technical publications in the United States and abroad,
Dr. Salvadori also wrote many non-technical commentaries on society and
technology, musical and artistic criticism, a book on mountain climbing and an
Italian translation of Emily Dickinson's short poems.
Determined to instruct children - especially the disadvantaged - in basic
architectural concepts, he volunteered in 1976 to teach engineering to junior high
school students in Harlem. His experiences led to the creation of the Salvadori
Educational Center on the Built Environment, which supports reform efforts in
New York City's school system. In addition to imparting the understanding and
excitement of science and mathematics to youngsters, the Center contributes to
the creation of a core of teachers and administrators who work to improve
students' academic performance, critical thinking skills, motivation, confidence
and attendance. His publications include the award-winning children's book,
The Art of Construction, as well as numerous teaching manuals.
Professor Salvadori was awarded the Founders Award from the National
Academy of Engineering in 1997, the Hoover Medal (a joint award of five
engineering societies) from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1993, and
the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education from the
American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of
Architecture in 1993. Columbia awarded him an honorary doctor of science
degree in 1978 and the Pupin Medal for outstanding service to the nation in
architecture and engineering in 1991. The New School for Social Research
awarded him an honorary degree in fine arts, also in 1991.
He was an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers
and the American Institute of Architects, and a fellow of the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers and the New York Academy of Sciences. He served as a
U.S. representative on the International Union of Theoretical and Applied
Mechanics; chairman of ASCE subcommittees on Social Concerns in
Construction and on Engineering Mathematics; and editor of the Prentice-Hall
International Series on Architecture. Dr. Salvadori taught at Princeton
University, in addition to Columbia and the University of Rome.
Dr. Salvadori is survived by his wife Carol, sons Vieri Salvadori and
Michael Kazan, daughters-in-law Rebecca Szabo and Beth Horowitz, and
grandchildren Niccolo Salvadori and Maia and Daniel Kazan. A public memorial
service is to be scheduled.