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The historical significance and pioneering form of the Hershey Ice Arena in Hershey, Pa., will be the topic of a lecture by Edmond Saliklis, assistant professor of civil & environmental engineering. The talk will take place at the Hershey Museum, Hershey, Pa., 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. The lecture is free with regular museum admission.

Built in 1936, the Hershey Ice Arena received a great deal of attention during its construction. Designed by Anton Tedesko (1903-1994), the arena was the first large-scale structure with a thin-shell concrete roof in the United States.

Tedesko, who brought this technological concept from Germany, had to first convince American engineers that this radically new form would work and then prove to them it could be built economically. Milton Hershey, a man known for innovative ideas, proved to be the perfect client.

The introduction of new design ideas combined with new construction practices in the Hershey Ice Arena clearly showed an evolutionary phase of architecture in the United States. “Tedesko’s arena was so well designed and built that it remains in exceptionally sound condition at the start of the 21st century,” says Saliklis. “It still exhibits all the features that Tedesko had designed, including its stunning image inside and its powerful impression from the outside.”

Mousam Kayastha ’01 assisted with Saliklis’ research on the arena as an EXCEL Scholar before graduating from Lafayette this summer with a dual degree in civil and environmental engineering and art. In EXCEL, students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend. Kayastha drew upon both majors in her work on the project, says Saliklis.

A native of Lalitpur, Nepal, Kayastha graduated summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honorary society. She received the Carroll Phillips Bassett Prize, awarded to the most outstanding senior civil and environmental engineering student, and the William G. McLean Tau Beta Pi Prize, given to a sophomore engineering student based on academic performance, campus citizenship, and professional orientation.

The arena’s success influenced a series of such structures over the next two decades, including the Philadelphia Ice-Skating Arena (1938) and the San Diego Air Force Hangar (1941). Tedesko became the leading thin shell engineer in the United States and received nearly every major award available to a structural engineer.

Saliklis specializes in structural analysis and has published numerous papers in the area of stress analysis and structural stability. His ongoing research on the Hershey Ice Arena has been conducted in conjunction with Professor David Billington of Princeton University.

In his research, Saliklis is using two state-of-the-art structural analysis computer programs, which corroborate the original hand calculations performed by Tedesko. Of the accuracy and efficiency of Tedesko’s hand calculations, Saliklis says, “We’ve moved away from a noble aspect of structural engineering – of understanding the physical behavior of structures by means of hand calculations. It is difficult to obtain such knowledge if you rely too much on computer modeling. In fact, the availability of tremendous computing power would not result in a substantially different form for this structure were it to be designed today.”
Saliklis and Billington believe the Hershey Ice Arena is a prime candidate for designation as a national historic landmark and landmark designation by the American Society of Civil Engineers. They will publish their complete research findings this fall.

The Hershey Museum is a non-profit educational organization administered by The M.S. Hershey Foundation, and is funded in part with General Operating Support Grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

For more information about this or any other Hershey Museum program, call (717) 534-3439, or visit

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