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This Day In History: Remembering Famed Engineer Othmar Amman

<p>Famed structural engineer Othmar Amman, who designed four of MTA's seven bridges, passed away on Sept. 22, 1965. Amman, seen in this photo from the early 1960s with Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Chairman Robert Moses, believed that when designing a bridge an engineer should be concerned with more than function.</p>
<p>"Economics and utility are not the engineer's only concerns," Amman said. "He must temper his practicality with aesthetic sensibility. His structures should please the eye. In fact, an engineer designing a bridge is justified in making a more expensive design for beauty's sake alone. After all, many people will have to look at the bridge for the rest of their lives. Few of us appreciate eyesores, even if we should save a little money in building them."</p>
<p>Amman is responsible for the design of MTA's RFK/Triborough (1936), the Bronx-Whitestone (1939), Throgs Neck (1961) and Verrazano-Narrows (1964) bridges.</p>
<p>The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge was a huge departure in design for the Swiss-born engineer. His previous bridges, including the Triborough and George Washington, were based on intricate steel work in both towers and arches. Amman, along with his contemporaries realized that if they were going to build "naked" bridges, they would approach them differently, and the Bronx-Whitestone is his first attempt to do that. Its towers are perfectly plain, with no tapering and no architectural adornments. </p>
<div class="frame" style="margin-top:5px;margin-left:8px;padding-bottom:2px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/RASBWBnegJ92211large.jpg" title="The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge" alt="The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge" /><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/Amman92211large.jpg" alt="This Day In History: Remembering Famed Engineer Othmar Amman"></div>