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Alan Garnett Davenport

Alan Garnett Davenport
BornSeptember 19, 1932
DiedJuly 19, 2009
Spouse(s)Sheila Smith
Engineering career
DisciplineCivil engineer

Alan Garnett Davenport (September 19, 1932 – July 19, 2009) was a professor at the University of Western Ontario and founder of its Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory. He analyzed the wind's effect on a significant portion of the world's tallest buildings including the building formerly known as the CN Tower, Sears Tower, Citicorp Center, and the World Trade Center. He was a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor.

Early life

Davenport was born in Madras, India and grew up in South Africa, attending Michaelhouse.[1] He studied at Cambridge University for his B.A. and M.A. in mechanical science. He went on to receive an M.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol. His thesis of "The Treatment of Wind Loads on Tall Towers and Long Span Bridges in the Turbulent Wind" was the focus of his professional career.[2]

He also served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Navy.

He married Sheila Smith, with whom he had four children.


Davenport and his laboratory contributed to the engineering and design of many tall buildings and bridges, including the Willis Tower, the World Trade Center and the Tsing Ma Bridge. They analyzed the wind flow and load over the structures using wind tunnels, detecting vulnerabilities which required compensating changes in the design.[2][3]

He was a founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering[1] and was the founding research director for the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a 1999 partnership between the University of Western Ontario and the Insurance board of Canada. Its goal is to improve construction practices and standards to better withstand extreme weather conditions.[4]

Davenport authored more than 200 scientific papers during his career.[5]

He was presented with the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering in 1994,[6] and the Albert Caquot Award in 2001.[7] He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada on May 1, 2002 for a lifetime of achievement.[1][8]

He was honored with the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2005.[9]


He died in London, Ontario due to complications from Parkinson's disease[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Deaths: Alan Garnett Davenport". The Globe and Mail. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  2. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (July 25, 2009). "Alan G. Davenport, Noted Wind Engineer, Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  3. ^ Mayne, Paul. "In Memoriam - Alan Davenport". The University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  4. ^ "Alan Davenport". Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. 2001. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  5. ^ Anderson, Jim (March 31, 2005). "Davenport built career blowing in the wind". The University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  6. ^ Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Past Winners
  7. ^ "Scientist Profile: Alan Garnett Davenport". Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  8. ^ "Order of Canada: Alan Davenport". Order of Canada. Retrieved 2009-07-26.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "2005 Lynn S. Beedle Award Winner". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 17 May 2012.

External links