Chris Letchford

Professor and Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Chris Letchford obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with First Class Honours and University Medal from the University of Queensland in 1980. He was the inaugural winner of the Ove Arup Scholarship and worked for two years in the London Office of Ove Arup and Partners, Consulting Engineers. There he worked on the designs for the Britannia Leisure Centre, the Old Vic Theatre refurbishment, and the Menil Collection Museum in Houston under Peter Rice and Renzo Piano. He also spent 9 months as Resident Engineer. After completing a doctorate in Wind Engineering at Oxford University as a Commonwealth Scholar he began his academic career at the University of Queensland in 1987. After developing a research program in Wind Engineering and Bluff Body Aerodynamics and reaching the level of Reader, Chris left Queensland to take up a Professorship at Texas Tech University in the US. During 8 years in the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, he helped manage an annual research budget in excess of US$1million and developed several innovative simulators for thunderstorm downburst and tornado winds. In 1997 Chris chaired the 4th Asia-Pacific Symposium on Wind Engineering on the Gold Coast and in 2003 he chaired the Technical and Scientific Committees of the 11th International Conference on Wind Engineering in Lubbock Texas. From 1995-1999 and 2007-2009 Chris was the Chair of the Australasian Wind Engineering Society (AWES). From 2003-2006 Chris was a member of the Executive of the American Association of Wind Engineering. In 2007 Chris was elected as the Asia-Pacific Representative of the International Association of Wind Engineering. Chris is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and sits on the Wind Effects, Aerodynamics and Tall buildings Committees. Chris is a Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland and a Chartered Professional Engineer in Australia. Chris left Texas Tech University as Senior Associate Dean to take up the Head of School of Engineering at the University of Tasmania in 2007. In 2011, Chris accepted the Head of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


BE(Hons) Civil - University of Queensland, Australia, 1980 DPhil(Oxf) - University of Oxford, England, 1987

Research Focus
  • Wind Engineering
  • Bluff Body Aerodynamics
Contact Information
Select Works
  • Zuo, D, & C.W. Letchford, (2010) Wind-induced vibration of a traffic-signal support structure with cantilevered tapered circular mast, Engineering Structures 32 (10) 3171-3179.
  • Ngo, T., & C.W. Letchford, (2009) Experimental Study of Topographic Effects on Gust Wind Speed, JWEIA 97 426-438.
  • Ngo, T., & C.W. Letchford, (2009) A comparison of topographic effects on gust wind speed, JWEIA 96 2273-2293.
  • Mason, M.S., D. L. James & C.W. Letchford, (2009) Wind loading on a cube subjected to an impinging pulsed wall jet simulation of a stationary thunderstorm downburst, Wind & Structures 12 (1) 77 - 88.
  • Holmes, J.D., H.M.Hangan, J.L. Schroeder, C.W. Letchford & K.D. Orwig, (2008) A forensic study of the Lubbock-Reese downdraft of 2002, Wind & Structures, 11 (2) 137-152.
  • Fritz, William P., Bogusz Bienkiewicz, O. Flamand, T C E (Eric) Ho, H. Kikitsu, Chris W. Letchford and Emil Simiu, (2008) International Comparison of Wind Tunnel Estimates of Wind Effects on Low-Rise Buildings: Test-Related Uncertainties, ASCE J. Struct. Engng., December 2008, 1887 - 1890.
  • Lin, Ning , John D. Holmes and Chris W. Letchford, (2007) Trajectories of Windborne Debris and Applications to Impact Testing, ASCE J. Structural Engineering, 133, 2, 274-282.
  • Chen, L & C.W. Letchford, (2007) Numerical simulation of extreme winds from thunderstorm downbursts, JWEIA, 95 (9-11) 977-990.