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Gustave Magnel

Biographical Information

Name: Gustave Magnel
Born on 14 September 1889 in , Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium, Europe
Deceased on 5 July 1955 in , East Flanders, Flanders, Belgium, Europe

Short biography of Gustave Magnel

Gustave Magnel studied civil engineering at the University of Ghent from 1907 to 1912. He left Belgium in 1914 and worked as a civil engineer at the D. G. Somerville & Co. Contractor Company until 1917, finally becoming chief engineer there. After he returned to Belgium in 1919, he joined the Strength of Materials Laboratory at the University of Ghent. He first started lecturing at the university in 1922 and went on to become a lecturer in 1927 and finally (1937) full professor of concrete and reinforced concrete construction as well as director of the Laboratory for Reinforced Concrete Construction. The French Association des Ingénieurs Docteurs honoured Magnel with ist Grande Médaille, and he received the Frank P. Brown Medal from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. Magnel was elected a member of the Belgian Academy of Sciences and represented his country at UNESCO from 1945 to 1946. Further honours include Commander of the Yugoslavian St. Sava Order and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. Magnel was one of the pioneers of prestressed concrete and the inventor of a prestressing anchorage system named after him and Blaton. He supported Freyssinet during the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de la Précontrainte (FIP) and was ist first vice-president. In his capacity as a structural engineer, too, he was acclaimed by his contemporaries. For instance, he was the first person to use prestressed continuous beams – in his design for Sclayn Bridge; and it was Magnel's Walnut Lane Memorial Bridge that inaugurated the use of prestressed concrete in the USA.

Main contributions to structural analysis:

Calcul pratique des poutres Vierendeel [1933]; Stabilité des Constructions [1948/1]; Prestressed concrete [1948/2]; La pratique du béton armé [1949] 

Source: Kurrer, Karl-Eugen The History of the Theory of Structures, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH, Berlin (Deutschland), ISBN 3-433-01838-3, 2008; p. 746

Structures and Projects

Participation in the following structures & large-scale projects:




  1. Magnel, Gustave (1949): Applications of Pre-stressed Concrete in Belgium. In: Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers, v. 32, n. 6 (April 1949), pp. 161-174.


  2. Magnel, Gustave (1950): L'acier précomprimé (Nouvelles considérations). In: Ossature métallique, v. 15 (September 1950), pp. 428-435.
  3. Magnel, Gustave (1948): Le béton sous vide ("Vacuum Concrete"). In: La Technique des Travaux, v. 24, n. 11-12 (November 1948), pp. 343-350.
  4. Magnel, Gustave (1947): Le béton armé aux Etats-Unis. In: La Technique des Travaux, v. 23, n. 1-2 (January 1947), pp. 17-24.
  5. Magnel, Gustave (1938): Le calcul des poutres sur terrain élastique. In: La Technique des Travaux, v. 14, n. 6 (June 1938), pp. 323-335.
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