AIA Honor Awards

12/9/2009–Congratulations to the architects and team members who worked on this year’s AIA Honor Awards projects. Meyer, Borgman and Johnson is pleased to have provided structural engineering services for two of the projects, South View Middle School and Urban Outfitters. MBJ is an annual sponsor of the AIA Awards Celebration, which honors the achievements of architects and those in related fields and their projects, including Honor Award winners. Engineering staff from MBJ attended the ceremony held on December 4.

Craig Haas Joins MBJ

11/23/2009–Meyer, Borgman and Johnson welcomes Craig Haas, P.E., as a structural engineer with special expertise in steel connection design. As a member of MBJ’s steel design team, Craig approaches projects based on his past experience working for a steel fabrication company, as well as from the perspective of a structural engineer. In addition to structural steel, Craig also has extensive experience working with reinforced concrete, precast concrete, wood, and masonry in a range of market segments, including commercial, healthcare, education, and government. Craig is licensed in Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, and Kentucky. He holds a Master of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University.

BW/AR Awards of Excellence

11/23/2009–Urban Outfitters, a Meyer, Borgman and Johnson project, received a 2009 Business Week/Architectural Record Award of Excellence. An article¬†about the project was published in the November 2009 issue of Architectural Record. MBJ provided structural engineering services for five 1900s-era buildings at the Navy Yard in south Philadelphia.

W Hotel Foshay

11/20/2009–The iconic Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis won a Platinum Reconstruction Award from Building Design + Construction and is featured in the September issue of the organization’s magazine of the same title. As structural engineer on the project, Meyer, Borgman and Johnson worked with contractor Ryan Companies and architect Elness Swenson Graham to transform the 1929 structure into an upscale W Hotel. Because the Foshay is on the National Register of Historic Places, all project participants were required to work within the parameters of NRHP guidelines to preserve the structure’s historic elements. Built by Wilbur Foshay to echo the Washington Monument, the tower was arguably the first skyscraper built in Minneapolis. Read the article, Monumentally Hip Hotel Conversion, from BD+C magazine.

2009 Woodworks Awards

11/12/2009–Meyer, Borgman and Johnson has won two awards from Woodworks, a cooperative venture of the major wood associations in North America. The 2009 Wood Engineering Award was given for MBJ’s design of Brushaber Student Commons at Bethel University, St. Paul, MN. KKE was architect of record for the project. MBJ also received an Honorable Mention for the port cochere at the Edgewater retirement community in West Des Moines, IA.

MBJ Names New Associates

10/6/2009–Meyer, Borgman and Johnson (MBJ) has named Meghan Elliott, P.E., and Joel Rector, P.E., associates of the firm. The choice of Elliott and Rector for associate positions was based on their professional abilities and leadership capabilities within the firm and in the community, as well as their outstanding service to clients. Both are licensed professional engineers in Minnesota. Elliott is also licensed in California.

Elliott joined MBJ in December 2007 to help promote the firm’s expertise in historic structures and adaptive reuse. With a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Architecture, both from the University of California, Berkeley, she brings a unique perspective on design and process to her projects. She earned her undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History, from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Elliott’s work with new and existing structures includes rehabilitation, restoration, condition assessment, seismic design and retrofit, post-earthquake evaluation, and the application of LEED criteria. Prior to joining MBJ, she served on the Historic Building Committee of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Northern California Chapter. Elliott is currently a commissioner with the City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Urban Land Institute, and Association for Preservation Technology, as well as a volunteer with the Minnesota Design Team. As a presenter to the A/E professional community, she has spoken on the following topics: Preserving Performance: Understanding Structural Systems in Historic Buildings (2008); Masonry: Lessons Learned From the Last 10,000 Years and Inspiration for the Next 10,000 (2008); Testing the Limits: Long-Term Deflection of the C.A.P. Turner Flat-Slab (Construction History Society of America, Atlanta, GA, November 2008 Inaugural Conference); and Deconstructing Green Design: MBJ’s Sustainable Structures Initiative (2008-2009).

A structural engineer with 16 years of experience, Rector has spent the last two years as the onsite representative for the structural engineer of record at the new $391 million Minnesota Twins ballpark. As project manager and lead engineer for MBJ, he performed peer review services, oversaw field activities, coordinated with the design team on the ballpark structure and provided structural engineering services for a number of ancillary ballpark structures. In addition, Rector was the engineer of record for what was at the time only the second LEED Gold certified newly constructed building in the State of Minnesota. Rector’s knowledge of sustainable design practices and work with sustainably designed projects has made him a leader in setting standards at MBJ for LEED compliance, as well as a rich resource for clients. Rector is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He joined MBJ in 2006.

MBJ is very pleased to welcome these two dedicated engineers to its leadership group.

2009 PAM Awards Announced

9/24/2009–At a ceremony held on September 16, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota announced Folwell Hall, University of Minnesota, as one of the Alliance’s choices to receive a 2009 Minnesota Preservation Award for Restoration/Rehabilitation. Originally built in 1907, Folwell Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, therefore, preserving the building’s historical character was as important on this project as rehabilitating it for modern use.

The exterior renovation required a complete historical exterior renovation and rebuilding of the north and west exterior stairs, as well as the addition of a significant amount of new mechanical space within the existing attic. Several brick chimneys were carefully dismantled, then, historically reconstructed as functional exhaust and intake air plenums. Additional structural steel columns were added in the third level corridor walls to transfer the additional loads to existing bearing walls below.

MBJ is currently providing structural engineering services for the second phase of the project, a complete interior renovation that involves the removal of interior bearing walls, creation of new openings and floor infills, removal of several superfluous chimneys not re-supported in the Phase I renovation, installation of new elevators, and creation of an underpinning/retaining wall in the crawl space beneath the building.

The architect for both the exterior renovation and the current interior renovation is Miller Dunwiddie; the contractor is McGough Construction.

Stillwater Library Addition Receives Award

9/3/2009–Stillwater Public Library received a 2009 Precast/Prestressed Concrete (PCI) Design Award for use of precast concrete in the Beaux-Arts building’s recent renovation and expansion. Meyer, Borgman and Johnson (MBJ) provided structural engineering services on the project. Originally built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1937, the library needed additional space and parking to meet the growing demand for library services. The expansion added 22,000 square feet to the existing 14,000 square foot library, plus 47 underground parking stalls.

Key challenges of the project included the need to compliment the original design features, many of which were originally carved of limestone. Because the construction of new limestone features would have been cost-prohibitive, architectural precast concrete was selected in its place. The design team and precaster, Molin Concrete of Lino Lakes, worked diligently for a year, designing samples that would match the original limestone.
Miller Dunwiddie Architecture of Minneapolis was the architect on the project. Adolfson and Peterson was the contractor.

Mike Ramerth Receives Award

9/1/2009–Principal Michael J. Ramerth, P.E., is the recipient of the 2009 University of Minnesota Concrete Conference Award For Outstanding Service. A periodic speaker at the annual conference since 1999, Ramerth has in recent years made presentations explaining his research on optimum durability of concrete mixtures , which was performed under the auspices of the Minnesota Concrete Council []. Ramerth’s findings support the increasingly popular practice of substituting fly ash and other recycled pozzalans for Portland cement in the concrete mixture, resulting in a longer lasting product and less pollution during production. Nearly one pound of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere for every pound of Portland cement produced. “As structural engineers we feel that specifying “green” concrete mixtures is absolutely the right thing to do, for the environment and as well as for durability and overall higher performance,” says Ramerth.

Now in its fifty-ninth year, the Concrete Conference is held annually by the College of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota. Its purpose is to provide professional development and learning opportunities about current technologies on concrete construction for engineers, architects, contractors, consultants, educators, and engineering students. Presenters are most often, like Ramerth, practicing engineers in the industry.
Read Mike’s article on “green” concrete.

Red Wing Band Shell Wins SEAoA Award

9/1/2009–The Red Wing Band Shell has won the Structural Engineers Association of Arizona (SEAoA) 2009 Merit Award in Structural Engineering for New Buildings under $2 Million for the Red Wing Band Shell in Red Wing, MN. MBJ was structural engineer on the project with Bentz Thompson Rietow as architect. Grand opening of the $150,000 band shell was celebrated concurrently with Fourth of July festivities in Red Wing’s Central Park this summer. The celebration featured concerts by a variety of artists, which showcased the new facility’s acoustical capabilities.

The city-owned band shell is primarily a structural steel facility that spans 50 feet across, 22 feet at its tallest point, and 40 feet front to back. It is flanked by two semi-circular limestone storage towers. The main structural engineering challenge on this project was to provide a geometrically unique structure with artistic appeal, easy constructability, and budget-consciousness all on a fast-track schedule. Because geometry issues typically add complexity and cost to a project, MBJ’s goal was to simplify the connections and constructability issues to minimize field erection errors, while continuing to provide a repetitive construction method that achieved the architectural intent of the project. MBJ used 3D modeling to design the structure as well as produce all construction documents. Design and coordination of the project was conducted through MBJ’s Phoenix, Arizona, office.