Yourkevitch, Vladimir Ivanovitch

SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 17 June 1885 Moscow, Russia
d. 14 December 1964 USA
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Russian (naturalized American) naval architect who worked in Russia, Western Europe and the United States and who profoundly influenced the hull design of large ships.
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Yourkevitch came from an academic family, but one without any experience or tradition of sea service. Despite this he decided to become a naval architect, and after secondary education at Moscow and engineering training at the St Petersburg Polytechnic, he graduated in 1909. For the following ten years he worked designing battleships and later submarines, mostly at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. Around 1910 he became a full member of the Russian Naval Constructors Corps, and in 1915 he was a founder member and first Scientific Secretary of the Society of Naval Engineers.
Using the published data of the American Admiral D.W. Taylor and taking advantage of access to the Norddeutscher Lloyd Testing Tank at Bremerhaven, Yourkevitch proposed a new hull form with bulbous bow and long entrances and runs. This was the basis for the revolutionary battleships then laid down at St Petersburg, the "Borodino" class. Owing to the war these ships were launched but never completed. At the conclusion of the war Yourkevitch found himself in Constantinople, where he experienced the life of a refugee, and then he moved to Paris where he accepted almost any work on offer. Fortunately in 1928, through an introduction, he was appointed a draughtsman at the St Nazaire shipyard. Despite his relatively lowly position, he used all his personality to persuade the French company to alter the hull form of the future record breaker Normandie. The gamble paid off and Yourkevitch was able to set up his own naval architecture company, BECNY, which designed many well-known liners, including the French Pasteur.
In 1939 he settled in North America, becoming a US citizen in 1945. On the night of the fire on the Normandie, he was in New York but was prevented from going close to the ship by the police, and the possibility of saving the ship was thrown away. He was involved in many projects as well as lecturing at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He maintained connections with his technical colleagues in St Petersburg in the later years of his life. His unfulfilled dream was the creation of a superliner to carry 5,000 passengers and thus able to make dramatic cuts in the cost of transatlantic travel. Yourkevitch was a fine example of a man whose vision enabled him to serve science and engineering without consideration of inter-national boundaries.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Order of St Stanislav and Order of St Anna c. 1910.
AK/FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vladimir Yourkevitch — Vladimir Ivanovitch Yourkevitch (1885 13 décembre 1964) est un architecte naval russe. Émigré en France dans les années 1930, il participe notamment à la construction du paquebot Normandie en lui concevant une coque révolutionnaire. Il part en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ports and shipping — See also: INDEX BY SUBJECT AREA [br] Archimedes of Syracuse Armstrong, Sir William George Atwood, George Ayre, Sir Amos Lowrey Barlow, Peter Barnaby, Kenneth C. Barnett, James Rennie Bell, Henry …   Biographical history of technology

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