Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty

Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty (Cornell University Press, 2010, available in hardcover and ebook editions)

Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty establishes a new level  of understanding of the statue; of how and why one Frenchman’s idea for a liberty statue was realized in the creation of this extraordinary monument, unprecedented in numerous ways, in New York Harbor. Embraced by Americans as a national symbol, the statue has become equally meaningful to many people around the world. Enlightening the World explores the historical period in which the statue was created – the idea for a monument to liberty was conceived at the end of the American Civil War – along with the lives of the people central to the statue’s story. Enlightening the World closely examines the design of the monument as well, describing the sculptural, architectural, and structural design and construction and interpreting the meanings of the statue’s symbols of liberty.

Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan

Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004)

Engineering Architecture focuses on my father’s career and his progressive ideas for large-scale building design, initiated in his own projects – projects such as Chicago’s 100-story John Hancock Center and 110-story Sears Tower, the world’s tallest building for over twenty years. At the same time, Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan describes my father’s childhood in Bengal, his early engineering studies, and the special personal qualities that shaped his life.

Building Blocks: The John Hancock Center

Building Blocks: The John Hancock Center (Princeton Architectural Press, 2000)

While I was working on Engineering Architecture I was asked to write an introductory text for this book of photos by Ezra Stoller. My Introduction, the only text in The John Hancock Center, recalls the excitement associated with this pioneering work of  structural and architectural collaboration.

51 Responses to “Home”

  1. john milde Says:

    hello, YK, i’m really impressed with both the S of L & FK websites. i would think anyone coming across them would want to read both of your books. CC had spoken about the tile mural in honor of your father & it was interesting to see it at last in a photo. she was very happy to see you in chicago recently. very best wishes from costa rica.

  2. Arif Mahmud Shoibal Says:

    I am deeply touched seeing your profound love for your father’s works and dreams. I would certainly want to know more..Once I come to USA, I wish to meet you and hear more about this great man (no doubt, one of the greatest Bangladeshis of all times).
    I’m proud to be a Bangladeshi, because we had FRK!
    Take care.
    Best regards
    Arif Mahmud

  3. Rajib Says:

    At last I got the book ‘Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty’ signed by you. I am so happy to get it. Going to start reading. Best wishes to you always.

  4. mazziyatol farizza Says:

    I came across of FRK as i’m searching for schools to further my study in US.His story really make me fall in love with high rise building as it was one aspect of my proposal for my master degree i’m pursuing.I pray to god i would become a good designer as your late father.

  5. Dr. N. Subramanian Says:

    Dear Er Yasmin Sabina Khan,

    I am admirer of Dr F.R. Khan and I was thrilled to visit Sears Tower a few years ago and take a picture of me with his small statue installed there.

    I am now writing a book on concrete structures for Indian Students, for which I want to use the images of DeWitt-Chestnut Apartment building in Chicago and Onterie Center, Chicago. Will you please provide them to me? They will be included with proper acknowledgements. Your early response is appreciated.

    Dr N. Subramanian

    • Dear Dr. Subramanian,
      I am glad to hear about your book for Indian students.
      I would be happy if my book about my father could also be made available to readers in India. Maybe an Indian publisher will arrange for this.
      Can you select the photos you want from my book, Engineering Architecture? I will send you permission information by email.
      Best regards,
      Yasmin Sabina Khan

  6. FM Says:

    Dear Yasmin,

    I am a third year student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. We are doing an assignment where we have to research an eminent contributor to the art and science of structural design. We have been urged to make contact with this person we have to research.
    I was wondering whether I could ask you some questions via email and how I should go about that?

  7. Muhammad Nasir-Uz-Zaman (Titu) Says:

    I am also civil engineer and from Faridpur. Now working as Bridge Engineer in JMRIP at Bangladesh and have much interest on design sector of civil engineering structure but may be need higher study on it to satisfy myself. I am proud of you and your father.

  8. Tashmeet Sadiq. Says:

    Hello Yasmin, I study at Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai campus. I have an assignment to do a 5 minute presentation about a visionary and I have chosen your father because he had such a remarkable career and his achievements were outstanding, I have a few questions to ask you but I am unable to find your email address or any medium of contact to directly talk to you, can you please help with this query, your help will be much appreciated.
    Tashmeet Sadiq.

  9. mashrur fateh Says:

    FR Khan is pioneer in tall building design and we are proud of him.
    I am a structural engineer, graduated from BUET and had MSc in structural engineering from Cardiff. Right now, I am in Bangladesh.
    I want to know in detail about FR Khan thoughts. Did he write any book? I would be very keen to read that. He did write lots of technical papers. But from here, these are not accessible. If you have his writings and technical papers or manuscripts, is it possible to get those? I am very interested to read his writings.
    Thanks in advance.

  10. Dr.M.D.Nair Says:

    Yasmin, over the years I made several attempts to contact you without success. I was his closest friend of Fazlur and Lisl at Urbana and Khan was my apartment mate for three years and we kept up for several years until I left U.S for India on 1961. In fact I was the one who introduced your parents to each other. We cooked, sang ( he taught me RabindraSangeeth ) , were partners and opponents in Table Tennis. The last I saw him, Lisl and you was when you all visited us at Urbana when I had briefly come back to UOI and taught there till 1961. I do not know whether you have seen his albums of Urbana days. If you have, you can easily recognise me. God , how many anecdotal memories of him, Lisl, Walter, Martin and all other friends. We were the same age, I am now 85 and still active (thank God). When I visited Sears Towers , saw Khan’s bust and walked through the Khan Way I was very nostalgic, emotional and proud . If you read this , get back to me and we will have so much to talk about. My E mail ID is .
    Uncle Mohan

  11. John Louis-Auguste Says:

    Dear Yasmin. Hello from Jeddah. I am working in Jeddah on the new airport extension and took a picture yesterday from the top level of the new control tower looking towards the Hajj Terminal your father did such a brilliant job designing. We felt he was watching over us. I can send you the picture. My email contact is on the contact form. Warmest regards. John

  12. Aftabur Rahman Says:

    Hello Miss Yasmin,
    I hope all is well with you. My name is Aftabur Rahman and I reside in Albany, NY. My inquiry is a little odd. Here in Albany I’m a volunteer of a not for profit organization called OBAC (Organization of Bangladeshi American Community) and we hold 5-6 cultural programs a year. Our next program is on March 28th, 2015 and with the help of some high school students we want to present lives of three successful Bangladeshi American. We have chosen your father as one. Although I am not an engineering student your fathers life work is very impressive and I feel proud to be a Bangladeshi American. I would like to know if you can provide us some interview time on Skype or in any other format. Main Purpose of doing this is to educate our children in exploring different field of study and at the same time to help them hold on to our heritage. I know you are very busy but if you can share some time it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much and hope to hear from you soon.

    With regards
    Aftabur rahman

  13. Farzana Says:

    Hi Yasmin,
    I need your contact no . you can send email fhdudm@yahoo.com

    Farzana Hoque

  14. Hi Yasmin,
    My name is Sudhindra Khamitkar , I am from India Bangalore, I want to get the book you wrote about your father Dr Fazlur Khan. Since I am great admirer of your father. So how can I get it?

    Thanks & Regards,

  15. Chris Fellin Says:


    What an extraordinary life work. Inspirational in so many ways.

    Warm regards,

    Chris, UM, 1982

  16. Kazi Hossain Says:

    Hi Yasmin, Dr. Khan was my mum”s uncle, I met him couple of times during my childhood. In fact I was supposed to meet him in Dhaka but he untimely died in March 1982. Through
    out my life I cherish my very short memory with him and praying to Almighty for the salvation of departed soul. I am living in Abu Dhabi and whenever I visit Dubai and look into Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world , I am mesmerised to think, it bears the architectural touch and contribution of Dr. Khan. Wish you all the best, hope you will carry & promote fathers legacy- serving the humanity at large.

    Kind regards,

  17. Dr.M.D.Nair Says:

    Yet another piece of nostalgia. Yasmin,you had promised to look into your fathers album of the period 1953 to 1956 when he was my apartment mate. May be we should reconstruct those days as well since that period made a lot of contributions to his future persona and achievements . Also your own visit to our place in Urbana as a child along with your parents in 1961.

  18. ASAK Dear Yasmin,

    I am a great admirer of your father. My current trip to Chicago is because of my desire to see his works. I stare at the work he’s done and marvel. I’m proud to see his contributions as a Canadian born from the Indian subcontinent.

    I am visiting till May 24. I was wondering if there was a way I could pay my respects and make dua at his grave.

    If you could email details if you feel comfortable, that would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Dear Ms. Khan,

    I’m an architectural historian in New Orleans and I’m currently researching a building that your father designed, 1010 Common Street (1968-70). It came just a couple of years before One Shell Square (which was so well discussed in Engineering Architecture). I’ve been hired to nominate the building to the National Register of Historic Places, which requires that I demonstrate its significance, architectural or otherwise. I believe that its significance lies in its engineering and its connection with Dr. Khan. While One Shell Square was understandably a standout project both locally and within the context of his work, I’m curious if you think 1010 Common is also important on a local level, in that it was perhaps the first tube-within-a-tube structure in New Orleans and it was your father’s first project here. It was also noted in a 1974 AIA guide to the city as “representative of this firm’s [SOM’s] computer-designed skyscraper series.” I would greatly appreciate any insights or comments you might be willing to provide.

    Best wishes,
    Gabrielle Begue

  20. Kurt Riegel Says:

    Greetings Yasmin, A surprise and pleasure to find you here. We are fellow UM CE grads, 1982, if I am not mistaken. Congratulations on your work. Send an email if you like. It would be lovely to catch up.

  21. Abdur Rob Says:

    Hello, Y S Khan.How are you? I knew you last 1 day. I am a Geographer but I am interasted about your’s father Mr F R Khan.Your father is a SUPERMAN. “Salam” for your family.

  22. MD Nair Says:

    Fazlur Khan was my apartment mate when we were both graduate students at UOI , Urbana Champaign. Contact me if you need to know about those days.

  23. Jean-Marie Welter Says:

    Dear Mrs. Khan,
    the Wikepedia entry of the Statue of Liberty says that you stated in your (excellent) book: Enlightening the World, that the watchmaker Japy donated the copper for the statue.
    I couldn’t find the reference in your book.
    The reason of my interest is that it was Pierre-Eugene Secretan who donted the metal.
    How can I send you a paper I wrote about the copper sheets.
    Best regards.
    Jean-Marie Welter

    • Thank you for letting me know about this error on Wikipedia’s entry for the Statue of Liberty. You are right, I do not refer to Japy in my book; nor do I attempt to value the copper donation. I have asked that the sentence be deleted from the Wikipedia entry, as it is incorrect.
      I am very glad to know that you are pleased with my book. Many thanks for writing.

  24. Dear Mrs. Khan,

    My name is Mathieu de Fayet and I’m the grand grand grand son of Edouard de Laboulaye. I live in San Francisco with my family since almost 6 years and would love to have a chance to talk in person about your book. I’m heading to NY tomorrow for a couple of days. Do you live there? Please send me an email if you have a chance. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Mathieu de Fayet

  25. Dan Protess Says:

    Hi Yasmin–I produce the series “10 that Changed America” for PBS. I will likely be featuring both the Hancock Building at the Statue of Liberty in our next season. I’d love to discuss.

    • M.D. Nair Says:

      Dear Yasmin,
      Thanks for your mail and congratulations. I hope I will have a chance to look at the series as and when published. I hope you are doing well. With Best Wishes,

      Sent from my iPad

  26. This is good to see google placed a doodle on birth anniversary of a Bangladeshi. Though it is seen in very limited countries but why not world wide, when his contribution helping grow world vertically.

    • M.D. Nair Says:

      I was thrilled to open the sites reporting on Google honouring Fazlur on his birth anniversary. Any reference to him or to you brings back so many memories of our stay in Urbana Champaign 1953 to 1956, Hope you are keeping well. Do keep in touch . We now relocated and stay in Kochi, Kerala.

      Sent from my iPad

  27. Lawrence Dietz Says:

    Your Asian-American father’s remarkable engineering accomplishment is memorialized in a 1968 item about the John Hancock project, on the K12 TimeLine of American Race Relations, which tells the stories of *all* Americans of color from 1500 to the present. You can find it at http://www.timelineproject.us. Enter using ID: diversity; password: inspires. A computer and browser (Chrome works well) provide best viewing.
    Lawrence Dietz
    Editorial Director
    The TimeLine Project
    “Everybody’s History”
    Study the past if you would define the future — Confucius

  28. Mary Hoffman Says:

    My late father was a structural engineer in Chicago who specialized in high-rise design with concrete. He worked with, and greatly admired, your father. My brothers and I shared the Google doodle about your father today because we remembered our father’s admiration of him. Then I read your blog post about playing math games with him in the car and the influence of his father, your grandfather, on him. Kudos to your father, and to you as a writer about him. Mary Hoffman, New Mexico

  29. Hi Yasmin,

    I’m a photo researcher from emc Design, working on behalf of an educational publisher.

    We would like to use an image of your Father, within the pages of an educational book, where he is mentioned discussing his work as an engineer.

    If you could get in touch with Lucy Clare on lucy@emcdesign.co.uk to discuss further that would be excellent.

    Best wishes,

  30. Maaza Mohamed Says:

    hey yasmin i was wondering if you could tell me your main thesis idea of the book? and its connection to today soicety

  31. Lovonia Mallory Says:

    would you be willing to come on my show WOOC 105.3FM Troy NY Lovonia Mallory 1917-400-5055

    And I do need a structural engineer for a project at my home in Albany NY by the way????

  32. William Dodd Brown Says:

    Dear Yasmin Sabina Khan,

    I have created a website entitled, “And Yes! We Are All Americans.” Fazlur Rahman Khan is one of 13 Americans included. The website is intended for teachers and grade school students. Please, can you give me permission to use his photograph? I would be most grateful.

    With respect,

    William Dodd Brown

  33. Larry Potash Says:

    I am working on a long-form piece on artist Gerald Griffin, whose latest work is inspired by the Statue of Liberty.


    This article says:

    According to Khan, “Bartholdi’s original depiction of Lady Liberty had her holding broken chains in her left hand, with more broken chains and broken shackles at her feet.

    I’ve been reading the book and keep going over the pages about chains, noted in the index. The only thing I can find is:

    Bartholdi evidently distinguished between the trampled chain and the traditional. Broken chain (left hand) symbol. As he continued to shape his liberty figure, in New York in 1871 and subsequently in France, he *considered* placing a broken chain or a broken jug, both accepted symbols of liberation, in her left hand. (It doesn’t sound like he created an actual design or sculpture)

    I’m curious of the origin of the photo in the article that shows an “early sculpture” depicting the chain in the left hand. I would appreciate any feedback to help me sort out the details for this story. I do plan to contact the Statue of Liberty Park Service.

    Thank you

    Larry Potash

  34. Mainul Hassan Says:

    We; Bangladeshis are proud of your father F R Khan. He is a great icon and a great legend in the world. Bangladesh will keep him remember till the end of the world. You will be glad to hear that a skyscraper is going to build in Bangladesh which will be world’s 3rd highest skyscraper. It will be 143 stored building. I hope that Bangladesh gov’t will keep the name of this tower “F R Khan Tower”.

  35. Mezbha kazi Says:

    Please i need to contact with you regarding design of iconic tower of bangladesh. Please send me your contact information at kazimezbha@gmail.com and my phone is 718 450 4566. Thanks and regards
    Mezbha kazi

    • mdnairblog Says:

      Your forward Yasmin, good to see this forward. I hope the new Bangla Desh skyscraper is named after Fazlur since apart from being the father of skyscraper technology , he did so much during the Bangla liberation. Hope you received my earlier mails with Fazlur’s profile which I wrote for my memoirs. Pl keep in touch Mohan ( Dr M.D.Nair)

      Get Outlook for Android


  36. Bob Daly Says:

    Hello Yasmin
    I’m one of the producer/directors of an engineering series on Discovery TV. I’m wondering if you could contact me.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Bob Daly
    producer/director of Discovery’s – IF WE BUILT IT TODAY

  37. Md. Hassan Bin Aziz Says:

    I am Bangladeshi, plz send me a mail hasanbinaziz4@gmai.com, i am a bigfanof frkhan

  38. ndavidsonresearch Says:

    Dear Yasmin
    From 1980-1983 my family and I lived within the territory of King Abdulaziz International Airport whilst my late father, Iain Davidson, worked as a project manager on the Hajj Terminal construction.
    Earlier this year I wrote my thesis about what I termed as the resonance of the Hajj Terminal. It’s a place that not only epitomises the apex of beautiful, intelligent and empathetic design, but also exists through faded memory as somewhere I looked out onto in my formative years.
    For my final project of my BA in Art Direction at UAL I am creating an online exhibition that hosts my father’s archive of the Hajj Terminal. The site will also present several new artworks and personal responses including conversations with people connected to the project.
    I’ve been reading with keen interest your words about your father Dr Fazlur Rahman Khan, his pioneering work and influence on your own career. Recently, I was fortunate enough to interview a film maker who documented your father and his SOM colleagues whilst making ‘Gateway to Mecca’, alongside his own father, in the early 80s.
    I wonder if you might consider having a discussion with me please? Whilst the construction is often billed as the triumph of a series of global entities, it is significant and important that a Muslim architect and engineer was central to the success of it.
    As well as highlighting the project’s design achievements, my research has also revealed some lovely threads of parental influence and your own story deeply resonated with me. It would truly be an honour to have your participation in what is a deeply personal and emotive project. The interview could be conducted by Zoom, or via email correspondence, depending on your preference.
    This revisitation is timely – April 12th marked the 40th anniversary of the Airport Dedication Ceremony.
    I realise you may have some questions regarding my project and its aims. If that is the case, please do not hesitate to contact me to find out more.
    Many thanks indeed for considering my request, and very best wishes
    Natalie Davidson

    • mdnairblog Says:

      Yasmin,in the past ever since I traced you through Face Book, I have been trying to be in touch with you. As I mentioned, for three years 1953 to1957 we shared the same apartment in Urbana where we were students and were the closest of friends. I knew him and your late mother Lisl better than any one else. It will be great if we can contact thru email or what’s app ( no +919940049701. You can Google my name M.D.Nair or Mohan D.Nair and get details about me. If any one writes his biography I am sure his student days at Urbana can best be covered by me. Old albums if you have any will have many pictures of us. My e mail ID is md.nair@outlook.com Mohan

      Get Outlook for Android


  39. Samantha Myers Says:

    Hi, I’m Roscoe Broadbent. I’m 11 years old and I’m Writing a biography about your father, Falzur R. Khan. I want to be a structural engineer when I grow up and I’m hoping that you could answer a couple of questions: 1. What was your fathers personality like? 2. How did he get the idea for his “tube” structure? One more question: Did he play any sports?

    Roscoe B

  40. Azher Siddiqi Says:

    No doubt your father was the greatest structural engineer of his time new innovations and design

  41. Sneha Mehta Says:

    Dear Yasmin,

    I hope you are doing well! I’m reaching out because I’m writing a piece about Dr. Fazlur Rahman Khan and his pioneering work on the modern skyscraper for The Juggernaut, a publication based in New York with a focus on telling South Asian stories.

    I’d love to interview you about how your father’s innovations revolutionized skyscraper design and the creative process he undertook to invent his now-iconic tubing systems.

    If this sounds interesting I’d love to chat! Would sometime this week work for you? If so, do let me know your availability.

    Thank you!

    Sneha Mehta

    Writer and designer

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