Statics: Centre of Mass

The Eiffel Tower

Fig. 2-12: The Eiffel Tower

Building structures are often purposely designed to be larger at their bases and smaller at their upper parts so that the distribution of the mass of the structure reduces with height. This lowers the centre of mass of the structure and the greater base dimensions reduce the tendency of the structure to overturn when subjected to lateral loads, such as wind. A typical example of such a structure is the Eiffel Tower in Paris as shown in Fig. 2-12. The form of the tower is reassuring and appears to be stable and safe.