Chicago Riverwalk
Matthew Hellenthal, Alfred Benesch & Co.

The Chicago Riverwalk is being extended nearly 2,800 ft through the heart of downtown Chicago. The most recent phases of the project include six uniquely themed blocks connected by canopied walkways beneath the existing bascule bridges to provide a continuous path along the Main Branch of the Chicago River. The presentation will give an overview of the project and the numerous challenges presented by the urban waterfront environment.


Matthew F. Hellenthal, PE, SE is a Project Engineer at Alfred Benesch & Company, where he has worked on numerous structural projects over the past seven years. He specializes in bridge design, earth retention structures, and complex girder erection for roadway and rail projects. Mr. Hellenthal has been involved in all stages of project development including feasibility studies, value engineering, design, plan production, and construction services on projects across the country.


Colossus TV
Jacob Phipps, Raker Rhodes Engineering LLC

Colossus TV, located at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN, is the world’s largest outdoor center-hung videoboard. Each face of the brilliant four-sided display measures 63 feet wide, 30 feet tall, and clears the ground by over 100 feet. The nature of an outdoor center-hung videoboard project of this scale presents a multitude of challenges from a design and constructability standpoint. This presentation will take a closer look at some of the challenges faced and solutions developed in order to safely deliver a truly unique structure for a fast-tracked, high-profile project.


Mr. Phipps is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Iowa. He earned his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from Iowa State University and has been a structural engineer with Raker Rhodes Engineering in Des Moines since 2011. He has led structural building design on a wide variety of projects including K-12, higher education, retail, office, renovation, industrial, and entertainment. He is an active member of the SEA of Iowa, and resides in Urbandale, IA with his wife, Morgan, and their two sons, Samuel and Calvin.

OKO Tower
Jim Pawlikowski, SOM

OKO Tower and the Plot 16 Development, Moscow – Europe’s Tallest Residential Building The Plot 16 project is one of the 17 plots contained within the emerging Moscow City district in Moscow, Russia. The centerpiece of the development is OKO Tower, an 85 story, 354m tall residential tower, which is currently Europe’s tallest residential tower. The presentation will focus on the design and construction of the all-concrete residential tower, which opened in spring of 2015. Also discussed will be the challenges of design and construction in Moscow, as well as the tower’s wind tunnel testing program, including the supplemental effort required when the client directed an increase in building height during construction.

James J. Pawlikowski is an Associate Director in the Structural and Civil Engineering group at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP. In his career at SOM, James has had lead roles on many significant projects throughout the world, including Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, the OKO Tower in Moscow, Tower Palace III in Seoul, and the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh. James holds an architectural masters degree (structures option) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a licensed structural engineer as well as a LEED Accredited Professional, is a member of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, and is the president of the Structural Engineers Foundation.

“To Demo, or Not to Demo, That is the Question” – Wheaton Center Building 6
Terry McDonald, Klein and Hoffman

Wheaton Center Apartments is a 760-unit complex of six buildings built in the mid 1970’s. Due to severe deterioration and structural issues, the Owner undertook a major $19 million rehabilitation to revitalize the complex. One of the structures, Building 6, experienced numerous structural issues which required out-of-the-box solutions in order to save the building from demolition. The Lifting and Permanent Structural Reinforcement of Building 6 presented numerous challenges from a structural, construction, and ownership standpoint. The presentation outlines those challenges and the unusual engineering solution which saved the building from being demolished.


Terry McDonald, SE, PE is a Senior Associate II with Klein and Hoffman’s Structures Group and has over 16 years of experience in design, analysis, and assessment of building structures with emphasis on adaptive reuse and renovation of existing buildings. Mr. McDonald is an active committee member of ACI 362 and ACI 546 and is a licensed structural engineer in Illinois and professional engineer in Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey. Some of his notable projects include, Wheaton Center Apartments Renovation, various projects at Chicago Union Station, Motorola Mobility Headquarters Relocation, and Loyola Mundelein Center Redevelopment.


Think INSIDE the Box: Adaptive Reuse of Wrightwood Art Gallery 
Michael Murphy, Thornton Tomasetti

Challenge: Create an elegant and finely controlled modern art gallery within the shell of a run-of-the-mill 1930s apartment building by demolishing and replacing everything but the perimeter masonry walls.  Solution: Insert a steel skeleton to brace the walls during demolition of the existing floors and utilize it for the structure of the new gallery. The temporary became permanent by encasing the steel with concrete for high-strength composite action and fire-proofing purposes. Composite steel beams and columns as well as concrete pan joists were an homage to historic construction techniques while thermally broken connections and architecturally exposed concrete showcase a taste of modernity fit for an art gallery.


Michael Murphy is a senior engineer with Thornton Tomasetti’s Renewal group. Michael joined Thornton Tomasetti’s Chicago office in 2012 after graduating with his Masters of Architecture (Structures Option) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. At TT, Michael has worked on a number of adaptive reuse, renovation, repair, and investigation projects utilizing his structural and architectural background. He is passionate about adaptive reuse because it allows the design team to breathe new life into old buildings. Michael is on the SEAOI Young Engineers Committee, a monthly contributor to the SEAOI Bulletin, an ACE mentor, and a member of AIA Chicago. 



Zurich North America Headquarters
Patrick Ragan, Halvorson and Partners — A WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Company

The 783,800-square-foot Zurich North America Headquarters is notable for its unique form which is comprised of three long rectangular bars. The east and west bars rise six stories from the ground, while the five-story upper bar sits on top of – and spans between – the two lower bars. The dramatic 180-foot main span, and the two 60-foot cantilever spans on each end, are made possible by three steel trusses. In addition to reviewing the truss designs, this presentation will discuss unique challenges related to the braced frame configurations, long-span steel staircases in the multi-story atrium spaces, and mitigation of extremely soft soil conditions using an innovative site preloading program.

Patrick Ragan, S.E., is a Senior Engineer with Halvorson and Partners, a WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Company in Chicago. Since joining H+P in 2007, he has been involved in the design of a variety of unique buildings around the world, including the UAE Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, the 380-meter Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower in Abu Dhabi and the 360-meter VietinBank Business Center in Hanoi. In addition, he led the lateral system analysis and performance-based design efforts for the 230-meter Qintai Tower in Wuhan, the 260-meter Samsung China Headquarters Tower in Beijing, and the 320-meter Hanking Center Tower in Shenzhen.



181 Freemont
Brian McElhatten, Arup

181 Fremont Street is an 801-ft-high mixed-use building currently under construction in San Francisco. Arup developed innovative structural systems composed of linear damped mega-braces to meet demanding seismic, wind, and occupant comfort criteria. These span diagonally across several stories, connecting to three nodes along the building’s height. Floor framing used a deep beam to accommodate mechanical systems and reduced required floor-to-floor heights. Through these systems, the client realized significant savings on upfront costs. They also benefited from additional floor areas, and the anticipated resiliency of the building after a seismic event.

Brian McElhatten is an Associate Principal and leads Arup Chicago’s structural group. He has worked around the world on several notable projects throughout his career including the 70-story Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China; the 450m Zifeng Tower in Nanjing, China; four 60+ story towers in New York City; two 100+ story towers in South Korea, and several medical and government buildings on the east coast. Brian holds bachelors and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), the Structural Engineering Association of Illinois (SEAOI), and the ASCE National Technical Program Committee where he is a Topic Chair for Buildings for the National Structures Congress. 

Raising the Roof: Three Case Studies on Structural Expansion
Josh Dortzbach, FOREFRONT Structural Engineers, Inc.

Often in adaptive re-use work we are faced with the decision of keeping, replacing, strengthening, or adding.  At Forefront Structural Engineers (FSE), we have found that in several cases there is a fifth option:  Lifting. This presentation will illustrate the impact of a roof lifting strategy to help three different building types achieve greater potential:  an industrial building, a retail building, and an entertainment building. These three projects illustrate an effective strategy to help clients who want to increase the performance of their existing buildings without the added expense of demolition and reconstruction.  

Josh Dortzbach is one of the founding partners of Forefront Structural Engineers, a design firm focused on innovative work that includes both expressive modern buildings as well as adaptive re-use of existing buildings.  He enjoys a truly collaborative process between architect and structural engineer where the balance of art, science, constructability, and communication are key ingredients to a successful partnership.  Current design work includes various hotel, office, higher education, primary education, and residential buildings ranging from new construction, post-tensioned high-rise buildings to strengthening of archaic turn of the century buildings.  

Recent Developments Regarding High Strength Reinforcing Bar
Dave Fanella, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI)

This presentation provides information on reinforcing bars that have yield strengths greater than 60,000 psi. Included is a summary of pertinent material properties for high-strength reinforcing bars and the requirements and limitations on their use in accordance with ACI 318-14, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete. Issues related to design and detailing of reinforced concrete members are
discussed as are the results from recent research projects. Also covered are the main benefits that can be attained when high-strength reinforcing bars are utilized in the structural members. Showcased are recent projects where high-strength reinforcing bars were used.

David A. Fanella, Ph.D., S.E., P.E., F.ASCE, F.ACI is the Senior Director of Engineering at the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute. He has over 25 years of experience in the design of a wide  variety of buildings and other structures. Fanella has authored numerous technical publications and recently authored a textbook on reinforced concrete design for McGraw Hill. He is a member of a number of ACI Committees and is a Fellow of ACI and ASCE. He also serves as an Associate Member of ASCE Committee 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. He is a licensed structural and professional engineer in Illinois and is a past board member and president of SEAOI.

Building a Wheel: Dismantling and Erecting a Ferris Wheel on an Existing Structure
Jared Brewe, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Navy Pier wanted a new, bigger Ferris wheel. The existing wheel had to be dismantled and the new wheel had to be erected without significant impact to facility use. Analysis of the anticipated dismantling and erection sequence, crane locations, and construction loading was needed to confirm the existing structure could support the applied loads. The upper level of Navy Pier consists of precast concrete members designed to support the public space. The lower parking level consists of similar precast framing, however with a lower load capacity. Close coordination with the contractor on preferred crane locations, maximum crane outrigger loads, and restrictions for travel and material storage resulted in an efficient and successful execution. 

SEAOI member Jared Brewe is a Structural Engineer with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. in Chicago, IL.  His experience includes: condition assessment and structural evaluation of existing structures; rehabilitation and strengthening of deficient and deteriorated structures; forensic investigation of structural distress and failures; advanced structural evaluation and finite element analyses of existing structures.  Dr. Brewe is a member of numerous ACI, ASCE/SEI, and PCI committees.  He earned his BS, MS, and PhD in Civil Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO. He is a licensed professional engineer in several states and a licensed structural engineer in Illinois.

LondonHouse Hotel
Martin White, TGRWA

The LondonHouse Hotel project featured the renovation of the existing 280,000SF London Accident and Guarantee Building and the design of a new, attached 22-story steel-framed structure. The renovation converted the 1923 structure, which was landmarked by the City of Chicago in 1996, into a luxury hotel. TGRWA provided innovative solutions throughout the design process, including: double-webbed 60’-0” plate girders supporting 1,600 kip transfer loads, a hybrid lateral system utilizing new and existing structural elements to accommodate upgraded program requirements, and strategic reinforcement of the existing framing. These solutions combined to provide an efficient and high-performing structure for the Owner.

Martin White, S.E. is an Engineer II with TGRWA, LLC in Chicago. Martin graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2010 and a master’s degree in structural engineering in 2012. Martin has worked as a project engineer with TGRWA since 2012 and is a member of AISC and SEAOI.   

O'Hare Pedestrian Canopy Evaluation and Repairs
Predrag Popovic, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Super Tall Buildings: 12 Seconds and Counting
Melissa Burton, BMT Fluid Mechanics

When considering the serviceability criteria for super tall buildings the immediate thought is the comfort of the occupants on the upper floors in wind events. However movement at the longer periods of motion typical for the first mode response of a super tall building, is rarely uncomfortable, or even perceptible for that matter, to occupants. Few engineers consider that the second order modes, driving the movements at the belly or mid heights of the building, have the potential to create uncomfortable conditions for occupants. However it is the natural periods of motion of these second order modes which tend to naturally be more disconcerting to people. 

Dr. Melissa Burton has fifteen years’ experience in the field of wind engineering, working as manager and senior technical expert on a large number of international projects.  She has extensive experience in wind tunnel testing and computational numerical analysis, investigating wind issues such as wind loading and dynamic response for high-rise buildings, stadiums, masterplans and long-span roof structures. Melissa is a specialist in the field of the effects of wind-induced vibration on occupant comfort and has both lived and worked in the UK, Asia, and North America.  She has a global portfolio of project work.