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Macfarlane, Tim

Timothy G. Macfarlane

Photo © Holcim Foundation

Engineering Specialties(1):
Structural Engineering
Glass Specialization

Tim Macfarlane has become well known throughout the world for his contributions to the development of glass engineering into architectural design applications. He is highly regarded as a lead innovator in structural glass advancement.

In 1985, the consulting structural engineering firm Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners was formed from a partnership between him and consulting engineer Lawrence Dewhurst, the Managing Partner of the company. As the Vice President and Design Partner of Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, Macfarlane has worked with many remarkable architects and prominent engineers on various projects across the globe(1).

A project that significantly pioneered Macfarlane’s specialty in glass structures was the challenge of creating a glass canopy above the entrance of the Yūrakuchō’s underground train station in Tokyo, Japan. In 1995, Raphael Viñoly Architects designed the Tokyo International Forum with Structural Design Group Co. Ltd.
SDG’s structural engineer, Kunio Watanabe, was in the process of designing the cantilever with steel beams, but then switched to the idea of using supporting laminated glass beams instead. Watanabe then asked Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners for advice on the matter since the firm had some experience designing several glass structures(2).

Photos © Firman Glass

Because of the minimal knowledge of glass as a structural component, many engineers could not see glass as reliable building material. However, over the course of a week, Macfarlane sketched a probable solution using fully toughened glass that surprised the Tokyo project team. With further funding from the client, a series of physical experiments at a university laboratory were initiated to test and refine Macfarlane’s new structural design concept(3). This period of glass exploration led to the discovery of new structural techniques that bestowed Macfarlane several prestigious engineering awards and the completed Yūrakuchō glass canopy was praised for its unique ingenuity and success(4).

Photographs © Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

Macfarlane received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He has taught architectural students for 20 years at several places, including the Architectural Association in London, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and at the University of Chicago. Additionally, Macfarlane is currently a visiting instructor at Yale University and has been a lecturer for a class called Exploring Glass(5). He has been an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects(6), was given the distinction of being a Royal Designer for Industry by the British Royal Society of Arts for structural engineering design in 2004(7), and has been on the Global Jury for the Holcim Awards in 2006(8).


(1) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners – About Us
(2) Firman Glass – Glass Breaking New Boundaries
(3) Macfarlane, Tim. Glass – The New Structural Engineering Material. London: Dewhurst Macfarlane, Print.
(4) Metropolis Magazine – Glass Ceiling
(5) Bulletin of Yale University – School of Architecture 2002-2003
(6) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners – About Us – Partners – Tim Macfarlane
(7) RSA Projects – Current Royal Designers
(8) Holcim Awards Global Jury 2006 – Tim Macfarlane

Written by Tammy Pham

February 1, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Engineers

Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners

Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners(1)
Main Office: London, United Kingdom [map]
Main Address: Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners
                       41 North Road
                       London N7 9ER
                       United Kingdom
Other Offices: Los Angeles, California; USA
                       New York City, New York; USA
                       Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad
                       Central, Hong Kong

Engineering Specialties(2):
Structural Engineering
Façade Engineering
Glass Specialization
Sustainable Designs

Cofounded by Laurence Dewhurst and Tim Macfarlane in 1985, Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners is a firm that offers consulting on structural, façade, and specialist glass engineering services(1).

Attaining architectural aesthetics, employing efficient structural solutions, and managing effective communication with project team members have attributed towards the firm’s worldwide reputation. Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners’ exploration and innovative employment of glass as a medium in structural and façade engineering is internationally recognized, having won many awards on various projects.

Some notable honors that the firm holds include the title of BCCB Consultancy Firm of the Year in 2000 for the “Hanging Glass Façade” on the Samsung Jong-Ro Corporate Headquarters(3). Additionally, in two collaborations with Goldreich Engineering PC, the Institution of Structural Engineers gave the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts a Structural Achievement Award in 2003(4) and the 2004 Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center(5).

While the main office is located in London, Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners also established workstations in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, and Trinidad. The firm continues to seek partnerships with international clients and hopes to advance structural sustainability with glass engineering(6).

Selected Projects:

Apple Computers Flagship Store (SoHo) – New York City, New York, USA
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects
Photo © Peter Aaron/Esto

Cafesjian Museum of Art – Yerevan, Armenia
David Hotson Architects
Photo © Art & Julane

David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo © glindsay65

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo © Kimmel Center

Mori Art Center – Tokyo, Japan
Gluckman Mayner Architects
Photos © Hiroshi Ueda (left); Mori Building (right)

Swiss Bank Cone (Stamford Cone) – Stamford, Connecticut, USA
Brian Clarke’s Studio
Photo © Respective photographer

The Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre – Armagh, Northern Ireland
Glenn Howells Architects
Photo © Mark Hackett

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mather Expansion – Richmond, Virginia, USA
Rick Mather Architects
Photo © Rick Mather Architects

Watercycle Pavillion at the Millenium Dome – Greenwich, London, UK
IDEO Europe
Photo © Richard Davies

(1) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Official Website
(2) Cheung, Durand. “Tim Macfarlane.” Architectural Engineers of the 20th and 21st Century. ‘Comp’. Gregory
           Brooks. Austin: University of Texas at Austin Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural
           Engineering, 2008.
(3) BritishExpertise – Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners
(4) WorldLingo – Structural Awards
(5) IStructE – Structural Awards 08
(6) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners – About Us

Written by Tammy Pham

January 25, 2011 at 3:51 am

Posted in Engineers