Principal Thoughts

Severud Associates Promotions

The experienced and expert engineering staff at Severud Associates is our most important asset, and we are proud to announce the following promotions.  J. Benjamin Alper, Matthew Peitz, and Daniel Surrett have been elevated to the level of Senior Associate; Jesse Cooper, Jack Gainey, and Andrew Moss have advanced to Associate; and David Bretl, Robert Calderon, Peter Fetzer, Morgan Miller, Olivia Parker, John Puleo, and Kyle Roshberg, have progressed to Senior Engineer.

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Looking Back to See the Future

Severud Associates has been providing structural engineering services for projects in New York City, throughout the country, and around the world since 1928.  During this time, the names and faces of the firm’s principals have changed, but its hallmarks of excellence and innovation have always remained the same.  Before starting his own firm, Fred N. Severud partnered with James Ruderman in an engineering venture that gained a reputation for devising structural solutions for challenging projects.  Although their partnership did not last long, Severud began a new firm—89 years ago this month—and accepted his first project, providing structural engineering services for a parochial school in Flushing, Queens.  Fred N. Severud went on to have a long and storied career.  His legacy continues to inform structural engineering today.

Shortly after Severud opened his office, Eivind G. Elstad and Max Krueger joined him, and the firm became Severud-Elstad-Krueger Associates.  Severud and his partners engineered innovative designs for complex and cutting-edge structures, often working with renowned architects such as Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, and Charles Luckman.  Together these masters of engineering and architecture produced a number of iconic American structures such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as well as the Seagram Building and Madison Square Garden, both in New York City.

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Roswell Park Cancer Institute–Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center

According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated population of cancer survivors in the United States will increase from more than 15.5 million in 2016 to 20.3 million by 2026.  Improvements in detection and care contributed to this dramatic increase, a result of many decades of research and experience.  Severud Associates has a long history of providing structural engineering services for the hospitals and medical facilities where this vital research and care occurs, going back to the design of a cancer lab addition for the Vanderbilt Clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1949.  More recently, Severud was retained to engineer the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

As the comprehensive cancer center’s first clinical expansion since 1998, the 11-story, 142,000-square-foot building houses six care centers where dedicated medical professionals and others treat the growing number of cancer patients.  Four of these—breast oncology, breast imaging, and gynecology, which form the Women’s Health Center, and chemotherapy & infusion—were relocated from the main hospital to free up space for expansion of services that remain there.  The other two centers are new:  survivorship & supportive care and adolescent & young adult, which are focused on the ongoing needs of cancer survivors who are no longer in active treatment.

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Liberty Science Center

A 70-foot high tornado that simulated the power of gale-force winds; a 100-foot-long, pitch-black tunnel that tested sensory skills; and a “zoo” that showcased tarantulas, African scorpions, and other exotic insects were just a few of the many innovative exhibits—along with movies projected on an 88-foot-diameter hemispherical screen—that intrigued and educated visitors when the doors to the Liberty Science Center opened to the public in January 1993. In May 1988—29 years ago next month—Severud Associates was retained to design the structure for this dramatic 170,000 sq. ft. science center in Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

The vertical lines of the Observation Tower and the angular shapes of the main building juxtaposed with the curves of the massive IMAX Dome Theater make Liberty Science Center’s visual aesthetic more striking and its structural design more complex. Severud Associates met the engineering challenges posed by the architectural design by using a carefully chosen variety of structural systems, the most appropriate and economical materials, and analysis and design software considered advanced at that time. The resulting structure provides a mostly unseen showcase of engineering technology worthy of its own exhibit.

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United States Tax Court

Most people would agree that the U.S. Tax Court in Washington D.C. is a place they would rather avoid, unless of course they are just going to admire the inventive design of this beautiful Modernist-style building.  In 1965, acclaimed architect Victor Lundy was asked by the General Services Administration (GSA) to design the U.S. Tax Court building using a new set of design principles for federal architecture. That same year—51 years ago this month—Severud Associates was retained to provide structural engineering services to execute Lundy’s vision for a truly contemporary government building.

Resembling an elongated stack of blocks, the granite and glass building features office wings at its left, right, and rear sides from which a windowless two-story cantilever projects towards the front.  The cantilever, which houses the courtrooms, hovers dramatically over a grand staircase leading to the main entrance.  An expansive two-story podium rests below all of the building’s blocks and ties them together.

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35XV Condominium

A Jesuit high school and a luxury residential building might at first seem like odd bedfellows, until you see the ingenious mixed-use development known as 35XV at 35 West 15th Street in New York City.  A clever deal enabled Alchemy Properties to acquire air rights from Xavier High by agreeing to place the proposed 18-story residential building on top of a new annex for the school. In April 2010—seven years ago this spring—Severud Associates was retained to provide structural engineering services for this unique project, which involved an array of design challenges and, ultimately, numerous inventive solutions.

Featuring sloped columns, cantilevers, and a glass façade, the tower—complete with 55 luxury condos, a fitness center, lounge, and dining room—sits on top of the school’s six-story, granite-clad annex and adds eye-catching architecture to a tree-lined block in Chelsea.  35XV’s daring architectural design required equally bold engineering, so the team at Severud Associates applied their years of experience and ingenuity to developing structural systems that maintained the architect’s aesthetic vision and also allowed the building to utilize all of its available airspace.

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Ed Messina

Sixty years ago today, on October 4, 1956, Ed Messina joined Severud-Elstad-Krueger, Consulting Engineers, now Severud Associates.  A steward of the firm for most of that time, he was named chairman of the board in 2006.

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Pavilions for the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair

Long before Google became a verb, the word Googie was used as an adjective to describe modernist architecture that was influenced by the mid-20th century’s car culture and golden era of jet travel along with the burgeoning Space and Atomic Ages. The New York World’s Fair that opened in 1964 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, became a showcase for the Googie style with many eye-catching pavilions that incorporated design elements such as massive cantilevers, upswept roofs, and shapes resembling spacecraft. Fifty-four years ago, in July of 1962, Severud Associates was retained to provide structural engineering services for the Johnson’s Wax Pavilion, a building which reflected the very essence of the Googie style.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

Known throughout the world for the collections of artwork it houses, the Met is also impressive for its architecture, which has interested people since the museum opened in its Central Park location in 1880. The story begins in 1869 when publisher George Putnam suggested that New York City needed a museum of art. Leaders from prestigious cultural and educational institutions agreed and formed an executive committee to prepare a charter. Several months later, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated. (more…)

Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters Building

Memorable slogans such as “More Bounce to the Ounce,” “Gotta Have It,” and “Change the Game” have made Pepsi-Cola, the drink created by Caleb Davis Bradham in North Carolina in 1893, a household name and a popular brand on restaurant menus and store shelves around the country. A surge in sales in the 1950s prompted company executives to commission a new building and in the winter of 1956—nearly 60 years ago—the engineers at Severud Associates decided to “Catch that Pepsi Spirit” and collaborate with architects from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on the design for the Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

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