David de Koning
Designing Towers That Touch the Sky

15 Feb 2018

Listen to this episode on iTunes/Apple Podcasts

Listen to this episode on Android/Google Play

Download .mp3 (58.0M)

Player by Podigee

Show Notes

Topics: 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



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.

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.
  • Ad Intro Music: “Woozy” Copyright 2015 by Photographs (Mark S. Weiss). All rights reserved.
  • All Interview content Copyright 2018 by Using Reflection and Mark S. Weiss. All rights reserved.