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New York State Engineering Firms Win 90 Awards; 11 Firms Capture 14 Diamond Awards, the Highest Honor for Excellence.

Business Editors

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 5, 2003

The New York Association of Consulting Engineers (NYACE) this evening presented 90 engineering excellence awards to New York State engineering firms for the design of outstanding projects in the United States, Canada, the Philippines and Korea.

The honors were given at the association's annual gala dinner dance in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This year, NYACE member firms also captured 20 national awards for engineering achievement from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), NYACE's national organization.

Eleven firms won NYACE's Diamond Award, the highest award for excellence at the state level, for 14 projects in six categories including:

-- building/technology systems

-- environmental engineering

-- structural systems

-- studies, research, consulting engineering

-- transportation

-- special projects

Three firms, Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., each won Diamond Awards in two categories.

"Few people really understand the role and importance of engineers in our society and what we contribute to the safety, health and well-being of our citizens," said Michael Della Rocca, president of the NYACE. "The knowledge, skills and creativity that engineers bring daily to their profession result in the innovative solutions we honor here tonight--solutions that saved millions of dollars for a number of these public and private clients."

The Diamond Award winners, by category, are:

Building/Technology Systems

-- Arup, New York, N.Y., Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, N.Y.

The challenge for Arup was to design building technology systems for the Austrian Cultural Forum, a new 24-story building built on a Manhattan townhouse lot measuring 25 ft. wide by 81 ft. deep. The building houses galleries, offices, a theater, a library and a residence. There was so little room to spare for engineering systems that every space had to serve a dual or triple purpose, requiring integrated engineering systems never before imagined for a Manhattan building.

-- Cosentini Associates, New York, N.Y., Gaylord Palms Resort and

Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

Cosentini Associates was charged with designing electro/mechanical systems for the new 2 million-square-foot Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and the hotel's three glass-enclosed Floridian-themed atria. Each of the systems designed promoted energy efficiency, flexibility and optimal climate control for vastly different indoor environments. The concealment of the air conditioning ductwork within the themed atria to provide an "air fountain" cooling system was a crucial engineering effort that contributed to the aesthetic objectives of the client.

-- RobsonWoese Inc, East Syracuse, N.Y., Building Energy and

Environmental Systems Lab, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.

RobsonWoese collaborated with Syracuse University to design the Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, the first full-scale thermal and air quality research facility of its kind in the world. Its distinction lies in its ability to simulate indoor thermal and air quality conditions, outdoor weather conditions and the impact of outdoor weather conditions on the indoor environment. Design challenges included obtaining ultra-clean systems, low leakage rates, achieving high quality surface finishes and minimizing volatile organic compound contamination.


-- Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., New York, N.Y., Blue Heron Stormwater

BMPs, Staten Island, N.Y.

The 322-acre Blue Heron Watershed in Staten Island was an area that lacked sufficient drainage/sewage infrastructure to handle flooding and water quality. Since a conventional piped sewer system would permanently eliminate the area's protected wetlands, Hazen and Sawyer solved the problem by enhancing the capabilities of the natural waterways drainage corridors with seven engineered systems strategically located at pipe-to-stream interfaces along three drainage corridors. The method known as "best management practices" (BMPs) saved the wetlands and $18 million in construction costs compared to traditional sewerage methods.

Special Projects

-- Atkinson Koven Feinberg Engineers, New York, N.Y., FDNY

Randall's Island Training Academy, New York, N.Y.

AKF was charged with the design of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for the FDNY's new state-of-the-art Live Fire Training Facility at the Randall's Island Training Academy. The two-story, 5,900-square-foot facility permits multiple training scenarios to be conducted simultaneously. The complicated m/e and plumbing systems and the equipment connections for the building had to meet the dynamics of all fire emergency simulations -flame, heat, smoke, noise, flashover--more than 100 times a day. The facility's ventilation system was designed to withstand the high temperatures produced by the fire simulators, each of which is required to have a dedicated exhaust fan that provides at least two air changes a minute.

-- Erdman, Anthony and Associates, Inc., Troy, N.Y., Prospect

Point Observation Tower Rehabilitation, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation contacted Erdman, Anthony and Associates to assess the condition of the Prospect Point Observation Tower at Niagara Falls believing it might be beyond rehabilitation. The firm performed numerous analyses, developed unique solutions, and determined that it was structurally and economically viable to rehabilitate the tower. The work, which was completed in less than nine months, using10 separate contractors working simultaneously during the inhospitable winter months, included removal of 60 feet of the tower, a new steel structure, four new high-speed elevators, a latex modified concrete deck, stainless steel railing system, fiber optic lighting and new glass curtain wall.

-- Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York, N.Y., World Trade

Center Disaster Site Recovery, New York, N.Y.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the New York City Department of Design and Construction selected Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers/LZA Technology to plan and manage all structural engineering operations at the World Trade Center site, which included the safe removal of debris from the collapsed towers, more than 400 building inspections and on-site engineering operations. Among the most challenging tasks were the design of grillages and the reinforcement of existing support members to allow placement of cranes, grapplers, and other heavy equipment. During the entire operation, there was not one case of a support problem even though at one point there were more than 30 cranes on-site. The recovery efforts were completed four months ahead of schedule and $l billion under the estimated budget, without a single major injury among the thousands of on-site workers.

Structural Systems

-- Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., New York, N.Y.,

Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, B.C.

The challenge for Parsons Brinckerhoff involved replacement of the entire suspended span deck, including hangers, of the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, B.C., without interruption to bridge traffic during daytime hours. The project also included a seismic retrofit of the North Approach Viaduct and the main span and the widening of the approach span sidewalk. All work was done during 10-hour nighttime closures. The poor condition of the bridge included a sag of more than one-meter at mid span and corrosion of the floor system, resulting in limited capacity to accommodate erection loads and deformations. During replacement of the deck sections, many hanger adjustments were required at each erection stage to mitigate overstress in the truss and hangers, complicating analyses.

-- Robert Silman Associates, P.C., New York, N.Y., Fallingwater,

Mill Run, Penn.

Fallingwater, in Mill Run, Penn., was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1936. Considered by some to be the most famous private home ever built, it has in fact had a history of cracking and deflection beginning with its construction in 1937. Since 1995, Robert Silman Associates has led a team of investigators and designers who determined through tests and computer modeling that the structure of the main cantilever was highly overstressed making the possibility of structural collapse a reasonable concern. Their innovative solution employed a combination of steel and carbon fiber reinforcement, highlighted by the use of high-strength steel post-tensioning strands, which both augment the tensile reinforcement of the cantilever beams as well as apply large forces on the structure to counter the rotations and stresses associated with the long-standing loads.

-- Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York, N.Y., Random House

World Headquarters/Park Imperial, New York, N.Y.

Designing a 25-story luxury residential building, the Park Imperial, atop the 25-story world headquarters of Random House posed interesting challenges for Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers. Steel was used for the office portion of the building and concrete for the residential. In addition to designing the interaction of the two different building materials, the engineers, by combining an outrigger system with pick-up trusses at the transfer floor, successfully and economically transferred loads from the concrete above to the steel structure below, while increasing the building's lateral stiffness. The building is also the first in the U.S. to use a Tuned Liquid Column Damper (TLCD) system designed to reduce wind-induced oscillations at the top occupied floors.

Studies, Research and Consulting Engineering

-- Hazen and Sawyer, PC, New York, N.Y./Camp Dresser & McKee,

Woodbury, N.Y., a joint venture, Catskill/Delaware UV Study

and Concept Design

In 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection entered into a Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) for the Catskill/Delaware water supply, which provides nearly 2 billion gallons of water a day to city residents. The NYCDEP selected Hazen and Sawyer/Camp Dresser & McKee to perform conceptual/preliminary design for a filtration plant. While that work progressed, H&S/CDM explored filtration alternatives, which included ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection. H&S/CDM's feasibility study and conceptual design report, supported by in-depth computer modeling, concluded that UV disinfection was effective against water-borne pathogens, thereby laying the groundwork for what will be the world's largest UV disinfection facility, providing the same or better health protection against pathogens for less than one-fifth the cost of filtration.

-- Metcalf & Eddy of New York, Inc., New York, N.Y., 26th Ward

Pollution Control Plant, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The huge cost to New York City of removing nitrogen from wastewater sludge has been lowered dramatically with the innovative design by Metcalf & Eddy of an acetogenic bioreactor. The bioreactor, housed at the 26th Ward Pollution Control Plant in Brooklyn, converts waste sludge to environmentally friendly organic acids. The acids can be used in the wastewater treatment process, offering the potential savings to the city of more than $170 million in lifecycle costs.


-- Jacobs, New York, N.Y., New York Penn Station East End

Concourse, New York, N.Y.

The new 50,000-square-foot East End Concourse of Penn Station serving NJ TRANSIT riders was designed by Jacobs and constructed on an accelerated schedule to accommodate the increased rail ridership after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The split-level design required the cutting of existing trusses and the redesign of columns for longer unbraced lengths. New foundations were designed with minipiles to achieve optimum height and space dimensions maximizing space and facilitating pedestrian movement. The upper portions of each of the freestanding columns, located along the main axis of the split-level space, are braced by a series of trusses with a continuous barrel vault to diffuse light throughout. The new spatial organization separates ticketing from retail and waiting areas and allows passengers to quickly identify the proper passages to train platforms and the street.

-- Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., New York, N.Y.,

Queens Midtown Tunnel Rehabilitation, New York, N.Y.

The rehabilitation of the 62-year-old Queens Midtown Tunnel that connects Queens and Manhattan under the East River began with extensive surveys and testing. The project included the replacement of large sections of the existing ceiling, rehabilitation of major portions of the mechanical systems and a new high-intensity lighting system. The most difficult challenge included replacing the ceiling that forms the tunnel's exhaust air duct while maintaining adequate ventilation to handle the concentration of carbon monoxide. Analyses showed that closing one tube of the tunnel during nighttime and weekend hours only resulted in the least possible revenue loss and inconvenience to the driving public. This approach provided cost savings of more than $11 million compared to other options and shortened the work schedule by one year.

Founded in 1921, NYACE is the oldest continuing organization of professional consulting engineering firms in the U.S. A statewide association, its members represent all major engineering disciplines and range from highly specialized solo practitioners to multidiscipline firms employing thousands with branch offices worldwide.

Note to Editor: The complete list of the 90 Engineering Excellence Award winners (separated into the eight regions of New York State) is available in the EEA Section of the NYACE Website: Detailed descriptions of the projects are also available.
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Date:Apr 5, 2003
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