The Seagram Building

In  1955, when the average cost of a new house was $10,950, average yearly wages were about $4,000, and the price of a black and white TV was $99.95, Severud Elstad Kruger Associates was retained as the structural engineer on the $36 million Seagram Building project in Manhattan. Working with acclaimed architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, Severud developed a structural system that became the prototype for high-rise buildings around the world.


For the Seagram Building, Severud devised several original engineering approaches that included using high-strength bolted connections, and combining a composite steel and concrete braced frame with a moment frame. Additionally, it was one of the first tall buildings to use a vertical truss bracing system. The architects decided to set the entire building back from the property line so that a perfectly rectangular shape could be achieved. These innovations and the majesty of its appearance have made the Seagram Building an icon on the famed New York City skyline.


Since Severud Elstad Kruger Associates provided structural engineering services for the Seagram Building 59 years ago this month, Severud Associates has continued to meet the challenges inherent in designing modern structures for urban settings. That tradition is evident in the construction of the IDS Center in Minneapolis, MN, Place Ville Marie in Montreal, Canada, Chicago Title and Trust in Chicago, IL, 3 Times Square in New York, NY, and most recently in the Bank America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York, NY.