Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reaching for the Sky

Concept designs of skyscrapers that will solve the problem of the future – the need for housing, work and entertainment place for a growing population in a limited space – have been proposed. In Discovery Channel’s “Engineering the Impossible,” the concept and challenges in designing and building a 2,755 ft tall and 170 story Millenium Tower to be built at the middle of the ocean in Hong Kong in 2050 was presented. Recently, an architect’s design of a 2.4 km (1.5 miles) high Dubai City Tower also called as the Vertical City is circulating in the internet. The proposed tower which is to be sited along the Persian gulf will have a total of 400 stories. For every 100 stories, there are Sky Plazas connected by vertical bullet trains. The building would be fitted with solar panels and wind turbines, and biospheres that double as recreational parks and water purification centers. The challenges in building these skyscrapers are numerous. The major problem is safety – will they be able to withstand wind and earthquake forces? Then there is a need for voluminous amount of construction materials for a gigantic structure. Next will be the construction technology and manpower required. And finally the services needed to support such height – transportation, water, power and waste disposal. Could they really be built? Photos from (

Sunday, October 19, 2008

GREAT TEACHERS - Joedec and Doc E

I have met two professors in civil engineering who possessed utmost enthusiasm and passion in teaching. The first one was Joedec, the late Prof. Jose Ma. De Castro of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering. JoeDec was my professor when I was pursuing my BSCE undergraduate course at UP Diliman. He was my professor in the Structural Engineering series subjects – CE53, CE54, CE55 and CE 56. JoeDec is a teacher who comes to class fully prepared with his teaching paraphernalia and up-to-date information about the subject. It was from him that I was introduced to the three basic tools in structural analysis – equilibrium, constitutive and compatibility equations in CE53. I still remember our exam in CE54 where we were asked to analyze a trapezoidal-shaped RC section – that was not easy! It was in CE55 that we were first introduced to the state-of-the-art computer-aided structural analysis using computer cards and main frame computers. In CE56, he taught us special topics like design of col-formed steel sections and analysis of footings on elastic foundations. I have never understood everything Joedec taught us, but I was inspired to study hard. Joedec never earned a PhD degree but with his vast knowledge in various topics in civil engineering, he deserves one!

The other CE professor is Prof. Romeo A. Estanero who retired in December 2007 after more than 21 years of teaching at De La Salle University – Manila. Prof. Estanero or popularly known as Doc E was not my professor but he is a colleague in the profession. He was the CE Department chair when I applied for a teaching position at DLSU in 1994. I have observed Doc E when he delivers his lectures in the classroom and in conferences - it was informative, lively and full of animated body language. His whole body is a teaching aid – he bends, sways, wiggles when he teaches topics such as buckling behavior of columns or traffic loads in bridges. He is innovative and up-to-date in his teaching. He uses models and posters in structural design courses. He enhances the teaching of RC design through laboratory destructive testing of concrete beams. Doc E used computers effectively in the classroom via powerpoint presentations and spreadsheet computations. I can still remember when Doc E had a mild stroke - he just took a one month sick leave and then continued his teaching at DLSU until his retirement - that's dedication! Doc E, although he has retired from teaching, continuously inspires young students and engineers in various CE seminars.

Joedec and Doc E are two great and outstanding Filipino professors in civil engineering. For them, teaching and learning are lifelong endeavors.

Video: Doc E talks about Bridge Design Principles at the CES Bridge Seminar held at DLSU last Oct 11, 2008.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

20 Years of Civil Engineering at DLSU - Manila

In 2007, the Department of Civil Engineering of De La Salle University – Manila (DLSU-M) turned 20. In SY 1987 – 1988, through the initiative of Dr. Romeo A. Estanero and Dr. Angel Lazaro III, Dean of the College of Engineering then, the BSCE program was revived to produce qualified, specialized and research-oriented professional civil engineers. The DLSU-M BSCE curriculum pioneered the offering of specialization in Civil Engineering. The fields of specialization in Construction Technology and Management (CTM) and Structural Engineering (STE) were introduced in 1992, Hydraulics and Water Resources (HWR) in 1994 and Transportation Engineering (TRE) in 1995. Geotechnical Engineering (GTE) will also be offered soon. DLSU-M graduated its 1st batch of students in April 1991 and as of 1st Term SY2007-2008, there were about 854 Civil Engineering graduates. The DLSU-M Civil Engineering Family is very proud of its graduates who are now very much active in their chosen careers. DLSU-M CE Department also offers Master’s Degree programs, MSCE (Thesis option) and M. Eng (Practicum option) in all the fields of specialization.

I started teaching at De La Salle University - Manila in 1994 after earning my Doctor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from Japan. I served as the chair of the department for about three years. I feel proud to have shared my knowledge to many outstanding students who are now building their futures as professionals.

(Photo: The CE Faculty DLSU-Manila during the graduation last October 4, 2008)

Hey, La Sallian alumni civil engineers - share us your unforgettable moments and teachers during your stay at DLSU. POST your Comments!