David de Koning "DESIGNING Towers That Touch the Sky"


Architecture, Automation, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, General Structural Analysis (GSA), Hypermesh, Managing Engineers, Rhino, Seismic Engineering, Structural Engineering

Companies: Arup, Halsall Associates


Even the word we use to describe very tall buildings, "skyscrapers," is intended to conjure a kind of mythological wonder. But, like any technology that seems magical when insufficiently understood, skyscrapers are products, the result of design and engineering. What does it take to build a building? How are the many engineering and design disciplines, people, companies and goals reconciled, aligned and coordinated? In this episode we talk to David de Koning, a Senior Structural Engineer at the venerable international design firm Arup, and find out. David also shares interesting insights on the unique business structure and culture at Arup, and discusses the two phases of impact that digital technology has had on design, first digitizing and automating work, and then transforming documents into data that can be modeled and manipulated. It's a fascinating journey into a complex field that affects our lives every day and literally creates the skylines we marvel at.

This is Episode 16 of "Using Reflection."

Guest Bio

David de Koning is a structural engineer, the Technical Lead of Arup's Montreal Building Structures team, and the product manager for gsapy, a set of Python bindings for structural analysis.

He has been involved in the analysis and design of new and existng buildings, including Tim Horton's Field, the new Mexico City Airport and the tower of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

He views every project as an opportunity to develop relationships, and to investigate how technology can change our work and the structure of our teams. He looks for every opportunity to harness technological change to increase his team's skills and to provide more valuable insights and services to Arup's clients and society.


Topics and References

Links to Arup's website describing primary building engineering services:




  • Host: Mark S. Weiss
  • Intro and Outro Music: "Florida Song" Copyright 2016 by Photographs (Mark S. Weiss). All rights reserved.
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