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News: SEAOC News

Synagogue Retrofit, Suspended Office Building & Staircase Isolation Design Claim Engineering Prize

Thursday, September 27, 2018  


Top honors in California structural engineering this year went to the innovative seismic strengthening of a historic synagogue, a new office tower daringly suspended from its rooftop truss, and a creative technique to keep stairways usable during retrofit and following major earthquakes.  

Congregation Sherith Israel Seismic Strengthening engineered by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (Emeryville), 111 Main designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (San Francisco), and 425 Market St. Staircase by Holmes Structures (San Francisco) received Awards of Excellence this month in the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards competition held by the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC).  

“It was a privilege to recognize colleagues for their work exhibiting excellence in what we do as Structural Engineers and how we impact our communities,” said Ken O’Dell, Chair of the SEAOC Communications Committee and emcee of the Awards. “Each year we recognize projects and SEAOC members that demonstrate outstanding achievement and excellence in structural engineering practice and project work. This year’s awardees ran the gamut of our profession, highlighting the many ways we touch the lives of our neighbors.”

The awards were announced as part of the annual gala celebration of the structural engineering profession sponsored by Computers & Structures Inc. (CSI) during SEAOC’s 87th Annual Convention at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, CA. 

Merit award winners included:

Seismic Upgrade of John Wayne Airport Terminals A & B, IDS Group (Irvine)

Swing Arm Isolation, Maffei Structural Engineering (San Francisco)

Pterodactyl, Nast Enterprises Corp. (Los Angeles)

Wilshire Grand Center, Brandow & Johnston (Los Angeles)

Our H20use, Norm Scheel Structural Engineer (Fair Oaks)

Mr. Robinson, DCI Engineers (San Diego)

Ashraf Habibullah of CSI presented the People’s Choice Award to the Wilshire Grand, the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

“Every day California Structural Engineers excel in creating the structures where we live, work, learn, worship, heal, protect, meet and play,” SEAOC Board President Janah Risha said. “Through the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards, SEAOC recognizes the best of the best by honoring those that had the pivotal role and the structural engineering prowess to make these projects possible. By honoring our colleagues we also honor our noble profession and it’s indispensable role in shaping our world.”

SEAOC, one the oldest and most respected structural engineering societies in the world, includes more than 3,500 engineers licensed to practice structural engineering in California.  To compete in the state awards competitions, projects must have earned top awards in the competitions held by the four regional associations of SEAOC: the Structural Engineers associations of Central, Northern and Southern California, and San Diego. 

For more information on this year’s and previous year’s SEAOC winners, go to: