Principal Thoughts

The Crystal Cathedral

In  1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership for a little company they called Microsoft. That same year, Severud Associates—already in business for almost 50 years—was retained to design the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. A dazzling example of architectural and engineering imagination and innovation, the cathedral is shaped like a four-pointed star and its walls and roof are glazed with more than 10,000 panels of tempered glass, all held in place by an intricate frame of inter-connected steel trusses. (more…)

Madison Square Garden

In  September of 1961, sports fans in New York City had lots to cheer about. Yankee outfielder Roger Maris slammed his sixtieth home run to tie Babe Ruth’s record, and the decision was made to retain Severud Associates to design a new home for the Knicks and the Rangers in what would become the fourth arena named Madison Square Garden.

“The World’s Most Famous Arena” has since then hosted countless popular celebrities and famous athletes. Structurally, the Garden incorporates a variety of complex features including the 150-foot high, 404-foot diameter roof. 48 cables extend from an exterior compression ring to a center tension ring and support the largest tension roof of its kind in the world. (more…)

Denver Airport Jeppsen Terminal

In  1989, Colorado’s Stapleton International Airport, originally known as Denver Municipal Airport, turned 60 and faced challenges to its operations that come with age. Fortunately, plans to build a more modern facility were already under way, and Severud Associates was retained to design the long-span roof, glass enclosure systems and curbside canopies for the Jeppesen Terminal at the new Denver International Airport. (more…)

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. (more…)

A Legacy of Designing Schools

Eighty-five years ago, around the time the Yankees were playing the Cardinals in the 25th World Series, Norwegian-born Fred N. Severud was hanging a nameplate on the door of his new engineering firm. The year was 1928, and the firm was Fred N. Severud Consulting Engineer, known today as Severud Associates.

Over the years, Mr. Severud’s name has become associated with several renowned structures, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but his first project at his newly formed firm was the St. Nicholas of Tolentine School in Queens, New York. Working with architect John Taylor Egan, Mr. Severud provided structural engineering services for a school that was established in 1929 and originally staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Halifax. (more…)