Distinguished Alumni Awards

R. Shankar Nair

R. Shankar  Nair
Tor R. Shankar Nair for his outstanding contributions to structural engineering, for his innovations in design of tall buildings and long-span bridges, and for his dedicated service to his profession.

Senior Vice President, Teng & Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

  • BS, 1965, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • MS, 1966, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois
  • PhD, 1969, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois

After receiving his doctoral degree, Shankar Nair joined the consulting firm of Alfred Benesch and Company as a structural engineer, concentrating his talents on the design and construction of buildings and bridges in the Chicago area. Among his notable projects at Benesch were the 40-story Chicago Mercantile Exchange office building located at 30 South Wacker Drive, 68-story composite steel and concrete structure at 900 North Michigan Avenue, Interstate 57 continuous truss bridge over the Mississippi River near Cairo, Illinois and Interstate 255 tied-arch bridge over the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri.

From 1984-86 he was an independent consultant, and in 1986 he joined the firm of KKBNA, Inc., in Chicago. From 1988-95 he served as principal and vice president with RTKL Associates, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland, taking charge of several major building projects including the headquarters of the Health Care Financing Administration complex in Baltimore, the United States Embassy in Kuwait, the Singapore Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the 31-story Commerce Place Office Tower in Baltimore. In 1995 he joined the consulting firm of Teng & Associates in Chicago, continuing his participation in design and construction of major structural engineering projects.

Nair is among the eminent structural engineers in the United States. He has introduced numerous innovations in the structural engineering field, resulting in increased safety and economy, with strong emphasis on esthetic and environmental values. Among his most notable contributions are the development of composite framing in high-rise buildings where, with an effective combination of steel and reinforced concrete, he has been able to provide economically the requisite strength and stiffness for tall buildings. He is among the prominent researchers in the area of lateral bracing of tall buildings and has developed simple analytical models for their analysis.

He has been a pioneer in introducing design and construction methodology for bridges and transit structures. His structural design of the subway station at O'Hare Airport included a unique underpinning system that allowed the station to be built under an existing six-level garage while the garage remained in use. His structural concepts for the 8th Street Bridge in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, represented a major advance in the state of the art of bascule bridge design. This bridge has been awarded a U.S. patent. He has made significant contributions to the understanding of stability and stiffness of long-span tied-arch bridges. The Interstate 255 tied-arch bridge, with a span of 909 feet over the Mississippi River, was the longest span of its type when it was built in the early 1980s.

Nair has participated actively in professional organizations and has been a researcher and lecturer. He is a fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers. His work has won awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction, American Consulting Engineers Council, Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, and the Post Tensioning Institute. He is chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Current as of 1998.