Tensile structure pioneer Virgil William “Bill” Murrell Jr. passed away May 7, 2020, at his home in Naples, Fla.
An engineer, architect and mathematician, Murrell cofounded Fabric Structures Inc. and Murrell Tensile Works. He served on the code committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), devised biaxial testing for fabrics, and wrote computer programs for engineering double-curved surfaces. He also taught at universities in Texas, worked with NASA, and served as a forensic investigator in death cases involving buildings.
A respected lecturer for Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) and American Institute of Architecture (AIA), Murrell worked on numerous well-known buildings and locations including Grand Canyon West, Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion, SummerStage in New York’s Central Park, and Baltimore Harbor Light. Partners include Buro Happold, Sir Edmund “Ted” Happold, Future Tents Limited, Nic Goldsmith, Todd Dalland, Commodore, Ian Liddell, Steve Taylor, Chuck Hendee, Diane Brayley, Carlos Castro Rojas, NADICK, and his spouse, Elizabeth Murrell.
Murrell was born in Covington, Ky., in 1947. He was mentored by engineering professor Hans Gesund at the University of Kentucky and served as an officer in the Air Force. Murrell and Elizabeth were married for 52 years. In addition to Elizabeth, he is survived by three siblings, a brother-in-law, nieces, nephews and extended family.