Eduardo Torroja Miret. Madrid. 27.VIII.1899-15.VI.1961. Distinguished civil engineer, designer, scientist, researcher, executive and teacher. He played a major role in the scientific and technical revolution that preluded the brisk development of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete in the first half of the twentieth century and the concomitant evolution of the construction industry. He is internationally renowned for his design engineering, teaching and research, as well as for fostering the institution of modern standards for reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.
He was born into a family with a strong scientific bent. His architect and mathematician father, Eduardo Torroja Caballé, was full professor at the Universities of Valencia and Madrid, where he renovated Spanish mathematics and propagated Von Stautd's projective geometry. He was named a fellow of the Royal Academy of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Science in 1893. Eduardo Jr's brother José María, a civil engineer, astronomer and topographer, authored a host of articles about aerial photogrammetry. Their brother Antonio was a mining engineer and PhD. in mathematics with a full professorship at the University of Barcelona, where he eventually became vice-chancellor. Finally, the fourth brother Juan, PhD. in physics. worked in Leonardo Torres Quevedo's research laboratory and was eventually appointed director of the Spanish National Research Council institute that bears Torres Quevedo's name. Like their father, both José María and Antonio were members of the Royal Academy of Science.
Eduardo Torroja Miret, whose penchant for engineering induced him to enrol in the Madrid School of Civil Engineering in 1917, earned his degree there in 1923. Founded in 1802 by Agustín de Betancourt, the Madrid School had been modelled on the Paris École des Ponts et Chaussées. In 1926 Torroja married Carmen Cavanillas Prosper, with whom he had four children: Carmen, Mercedes, José Antonio and Eduardo.
Torroja's designing talent was perceptible from the time he took his very first engineering job with Hidrocivil, a construction company founded and headed by his teacher José Eugenio Ribera. As a member of the company's engineering team, he created his first innovative reinforced concrete designs, authoring, among others, the famous Tempul Aqueduct over the River Guadalete (Figure 1) at Jerez de la Frontera (1927), the thin shell domes that formed part of the foundation caissons in San Telmo Bridge at Seville (1926) and the concentric hyperboloid reinforced brick shells for the foundations in Sancti-Petri Bridge at Cadiz (1926).
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