Teaching becomes fun: experiencing the Uncle Scrooge Money Bin re-design

Enes Libohova, Michele Tonizzo and Luca Sgambi

Politecnico di Milano

Originality, fantasy, seriousness and scientific method. These characteristics should always be present inside all Architectural School teaching. In 2013, when asked by a friend of mine, if Uncle Scrooge Money Bin could be built in reality, I had no hesitation in bringing that simple curiosity inside my Structural Design course at the Politecnico di Milano.

The work lasted for an entire year involving professors and students in one of the most original and funny educational experiences in the world. Maintaining a balance between fantasy and reality, we started from the original Uncle Scrooge Money Bin designed and published by Don Rosa in “The Beagle Boys Vs. The Money Bin” in 2001. We pointed out architectural and engineering criticality, one above all the absence of any kind of structure. The structural design of the money-filled pool has been the main problem to solve during the year involving students in activities such as brainstorming, conceptual design, ideation of experimental tests (the equivalent money weight and the coefficient of active money pressure were unowned in literature) structural dimensioning and tests with a finite element software (Straus7) and structural drawings.

Subsequently students and colleagues joined the team studying MEP, buildups and other compositional features of the design making the whole experience a successful example of integrated design.


Luca Sgambi
1998 - Master degree in Civil Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.
2001 - 2nd level Specializing Master (2yr) in Concrete Structures at Politecnico di Milano.
2005 - Ph.D. in Structural Engineering at Sapienza – “La Sapienza” - Università di Roma.
2010 to 2013 Temporary Assistant Professor at Politecnico di Milano
2013 to present - Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Politecnico di Milano
2003 - Winner of the “Fellowship” at the Second M.I.T. Conference on Computational Fluid and Solid Mechanics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
2013 - Member of the team Winner of 1° Prize on the “Blast Blind Prediction Contest 2012. Category 1”, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
2003 to present - Adjunct Professor, School of Civil Architecture, Politecnico di Milano. He has over 80 publications in journals and conference proceedings and is a co-author of 3 books.