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Biographical Information

Name: Ronald Jenkins
Full name: Ronald Stewart Jenkins
Born on 8 December 1907 in , London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Deceased on 27 December 1975 in , London, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Short biography of Ronald Jenkins

Ronald Jenkins studied engineering from 1928 to 1931 at the City & Guilds School in London and afterwards worked with Oscar Faber. It was there that he met Ove Arup, who at the time was working in the same building for Christiani & Nielsen. Arup recognised Jenkins’s analytical abilities and invited him to join him, initially with Kier and later in his own practice, which he set up with his cousin. Jenkins understood how the methods of applied mathematics and mechanics devised by scientists could be exploited for everyday structural engineering. He carried out invaluable work on shells in single and double curvature as well as prestressed concrete during the invention and innovation phases of structural theory. The shell roofs to the Bank of England printing works (Debden) and Smithfield Market (London), also the polygonal shells of the rubber works in Brwnmawr (South Wales) and, last but definitely not least, the world-famous roof to Sydney Opera House, which has become the landmark of that city. Furthermore, Jenkins also worked as a teacher in his company; he conveyed his technical and scientific knowledge to a whole generation of engineers who in turn advanced the theory, design, analysis and construction of shells and prestressed loadbearing structures. Ove Arup wrote of Jenkins: “Not only my firm, but the whole engineering profession and indeed the whole country owe him a debt for having contributed to the improvement of engineering education and the raising of engineering standards.” Ronald Stewart Jenkins’s professional career was a rare and happy synthesis of teaching, research and practical structural engineering.

Main contributions to strcutural analysis:

Theory and design of cylindrical shell structures [1947]; Theory of new forms of shell [1952]; The design of a reinforced concrete factory at Brynmawr, South Wales (1953/1); Matrix analysis applied to indeterminate structures [1953/2]; Linear analysis of statically indeterminate structures [1954]; Design and Construction of the Printing Works at Debden [1956]; The evolution of the design of the concourse at the Sydney Opera House [1968] 

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. 739

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