David Bott (B.Arch ’97, BS CEE ’98) is featured in a recent article published by CMU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department titled “Beyond the Surface: Bringing Beauty and Structure to Light.” Bott grew up fascinated with the idea of creating spaces, how things were designed, and how they were built. While his career path may be slightly different than he had envisioned as a young man, there can be no doubt that he is creating a legacy of iconic and unique spaces.
Bott was part of the Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers team which helped design and engineer the steel and glass curtain wall and the skylight of the Oculus, the World Trade Center complex transportation hub designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Bott says that when he came to CMU to study architecture, he assumed that architects designed the entire building, including the structure. He came to believe that studying architecture alone gave him only a surface understanding of the building structure, so he began to pursue studies in engineering as well. He was encouraged by Professor Delbert Highlands to study engineering like an engineer, divorced from architecture, and to merge the two disciplines later. Professor Irving Oppenheim developed a curriculum for him, which allowed him to begin taking engineering classes as he completed his architecture degree, in order to streamline completion of both degrees.
“The engineering curriculum and courses I took at Carnegie Mellon were some of the best classes I took,” says Bott. “I got so much out of engineering. What we did at CMU was amazing.”