What’s Happening at MKA

12.10.2014 — Years in the making, contractors have finally broken ground on the long-awaited 150 North Riverside development in the heart of Chicago. Located on an incredibly challenging site – bounded on one side by the Chicago River and bisected by active Amtrak rail lines – the Goettsch-designed office building features a striking tapered profile that enables the 53-story building’s footprint to only occupy 25% of the site. Engineering News-Record’s recent article provides more details on the engineering challenges overcome by MKA and the rest of the design team.

» 150 North Riverside Groundbreaking

11.19.2014 — MKA will be at the following career fairs in January and February 2015:

January 21, 2015 – University of Washington

February 7, 2015 – California Polytechnic State University

February 10, 2015 – University of California, Berkeley

February 12, 2015 – Stanford University

February 16, 2015 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

February 26, 2015 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Please stop by and say hello!

» Upcoming Career Fairs in 2015

10.30.2014 — Last week employees from MKA attended ACE Seattle’s Kickoff Night where students and mentors met for the first time to launch the 2014-2015 Ace Mentor Program. Each year, ACE Seattle pairs high school students with mentor teams from across all disciplines to visit major construction sites, learn from industry leaders, and complete projects. This year, MKA is participating with two teams of students and meeting with them regularly from October until May designing a museum on the waterfront. Starting from an RFP, the students will walk through concepts and design with their mentor teams, concluding with a showcase presentation at the University of Washington in May. The Washington chapter of Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) was founded by MKA’s own Jon Magnusson.

» ACE Seattle Mentor Program Kickoff

10.28.2014 — The Charles Pankow Foundation announced the release of the 95% Draft of the ATC 115 Project Report, “Roadmap for the Use of High-Strength Reinforcement in Reinforced Concrete Design.”  Both Ron Klemencic, MKA Chairman and CEO, and Dave Fields, MKA Principal, contributed to the development of this report, which is part of an unprecedented five-year research endeavor to simplify and speed reinforced concrete construction by easing rebar congestion.  This is the first targeted research to support a building code change since the 1960s.

» 95% Draft of theATC 115 Report

10.23.2014 — Gregg Briggs, Senior Principal, co-presented with the Director and Owner’s Representative of the Philadelphia Art Museum on “Open or Closed:  A Key Decision When Planning Your Transition,” at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums 2014 Conference in Washington, D.C.  Greg is a key member of MKA’s Cultural Specialist Group and has managed several museum expansions in addition to the Philadelphia Art Museum, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

» Greg Briggs presents at Mid-Atlantic Assoc. of Museums

10.23.2014 — John Hooper, Director of Earthquake Engineering, and Ron Klemencic, Chairman and CEO, presented on "Performance-Based Design - State of the Practice for Tall Buildings" and "Case Study 1:  Concrete Building Design" at the 2014 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) technical seminar series in San Francisco.  EERI, a leading technical group with international reach, exists to promote the science of earthquake engineering and the understanding of the effects of earthquakes.  Both Ron and John have extensive experience with EERI, particularly through their development of performance-based seismic design.

» John Hooper and Ron Klemencic present Concrete Building Design at EERI

10.03.2014 — Ron Klemencic, MKA’s Chairman and C.E.O., wrote an article titled “Why are tall buildings considered safer than many low-rise buildings during earthquakes?” for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s “Ask a CTBUH Expert” series.  

In his article, Ron, who continues to lead the advancement of performance-based seismic design of tall buildings, outlines physical, code-prescribed, and practical reasons for why tall buildings tend to be safer than low-rise buildings.  

Read "Why are tall buildings considered safer than many low-rise buildings during earthquakes?"  

» Why are tall buildings considered safer than many low-rise buildings during earthquakes?

09.29.2014 — Don Davies, MKA Senior Principal, was a panel member for the Design Futures Council Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design’s "Sustainability of Tall Buildings" in Deer Valley, Utah. Don is a recognized leader in embodied carbon and sustainable structural design practices and mentors MKA’s Sustainability Specialist Group.  Find out more about how MKA is leading the industry in Sustainability

» Don Davies Sustainability of Tall Buildings panel member

09.18.2014 — Peter Somers, MKA Principal, served as the Master of Ceremonies at the opening luncheon for the 2014 SEAW Northwest Conference, "Connecting Cities :: Structures :: People" in Seattle.

» Peter Somers SEAW Northwest Conference

09.16.2014 — Don Davies, MKA Senior Principal, presented "Life Cycle Analysis - Are We There Yet?" and Ron Klemencic, MKA Chairman and C.E.O., chaired a workshop on "Considering the Whole Life Cycle" at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s 2014 World Congress.

» Don Davies Life Cycle Analysis 2014 CTBUH

08.29.2014 — In the wake of the recent Napa Earthquake, many wonder about the safety of the many new high-rise towers in earthquake-prone regions. In a recent article exploring these concerns, Ron Klemencic, MKA’s Chairman and C.E.O., speaks on how the firm’s innovative performance-based seismic design approach produces safe buildings that perform reliably during earthquake events.


To date, MKA has designed 55 performance-based seismic design structures (multiples more than any other engineer in the world), including  One Rincon Hill  and Transbay Tower in San Francisco.  Learn about MKA’s Leadership In Engineering: Performance-Based Seismic Design.

» MKA’s Leadership in Performance-Based Seismic Design

08.18.2014 — On July 28, 2014, The Seattle Chapter of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) held its second public event at the Seattle offices of NBBJ.  The event drew more than 50 guests to a lecture by Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, focusing on “The Sustainability of Going Tall.”  Don Davies, Senior Principal at MKA, noted that it was both a great mixer of the Seattle design, construction, and development community, as well as a focus on a significant issue effecting our work today.  This was the first event in a series of Seattle events that will focus on Seattle neighborhoods. The next event will be held on September 10th at the Foster/White Gallery and will focus on Pioneer Square.

» CTBUH Seattle on The Sustainability of Going Tall

07.22.2014 — Earlier this year, MKA served as structural reviewers for Build Forward, a Philippines design competition for climate-adaptive houses and school buildings.  The competition, a partnership of Ortigas & Co., the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Habitat for Humanity Philippines, challenged architecture students from different Philippines universities to design structures that can adapt to the changing weather conditions in the country.  Each submission was required to address the strong earthquake and typhoon risks associated with the Philippines.  Find out more about the top 10 student finalists and the winning design for Build Forward. 

» MKA reviews for Build Forward

06.23.2014 — On June 19, 2014, MKA engineers Jordan Jarrett and Kevin Aswegan shook things up at the Museum of Flight’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Camp: Wonderous Waves.  Speaking to 6th and 7th graders, they discussed the waves of motion associated with earthquakes and tools for understanding the effects of earthquake motion,  including plate tectonics, seismic waves, measurement of earthquakes, and the faults affecting Seattle. The campers engaged in several hands-on actives, including making seismic waves out of slinkies, creating their own “earthquakes” by jumping around an accelerometer, and building candy structures that were tested on a shake table.

» MKA at the Museum of Flight STEM Camp, Wonderous Waves

05.29.2014 — Last night, the ACE Mentor Program of Seattle held its Inaugural Industry Leaders Reception to recognize contributing mentors and award scholarships to 10 students.  The ACE program, which mentors high school students and inspires them to pursue careers in design and construction, awarded the scholarships to high school seniors from the Puget Sound region.  More than 150 students from 40 high schools participated in the 2013/2014 program, mentored by 140 local industry professionals who volunteered their time.

Starting with the architectural design and working through to final construction considerations, this year’s nine student teams focused on the remodel of a school to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program requiring the highest level of sustainable features. 

Twelve MKA engineers volunteered their time for this program, including team leaders Mat Johnson and Brad Strandquist.  Over 50 local corporations supported this year’s activities and scholarships with their generous donations. MKA’s Jon Magnusson and CFO Bill Christopher both serve on the Board for ACE Washington, and this year MKA contributed $10,000 as a Platinum sponsor.

The ACE Mentor Program, with chapters in 38 states, is the construction industry’s fastest-growing high school mentoring program, reaching over 8,000 students annually.  Jon Magnusson founded the Washington chapter in 2001 and has since awarded more than $305,000 in scholarships.

Pictured above are the 10 scholarship recipients with Jon Magnusson, President, and Ardel Jala, Vice President. 

» ACE Mentor Program Industry Leaders Reception 2014

05.16.2014 — This week, May 14 and 15, 2014, MKA had the privilege of hosting the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO’s) Seismic Working Group (WG9) – a collective of 20 earthquake specialists charged with evolving the framework for global seismic design.

WG9 is tasked with creating the newest version of ISO 3010: “Bases for design of structures – Seismic actions on structures,” an international standard that outlines earthquake provisions to elevate global seismic design and positively influence each participating country’s seismic codes.  (Engineers may appreciate the comparison that WG9 is essentially writing the ASCE 7 seismic provisions for the world). 

The group, comprising recognized authorities on seismic standards, includes representatives from Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Chile, Canada, South Africa, and the United States.  In support of their 3-year effort to create ISO 3010, they meet every 6 months in locations around the world.  The group last met November 2013 in Tokyo before convening their 2-day summit Seattle last week.  John Hooper, MKA’s Director of Earthquake Engineering and one of four WG9 delegates from the United States, served as host for last week’s meeting.  John is a recognized leader in seismic design and contributes greatly to the development of earthquake codes and standards, including the seismic requirements of ASCE 7. 

The next meeting of WG9 is scheduled for December 1-2, 2014, in Copenhagen, where the work on enhancing the international seismic framework will continue.

» MKA Hosts the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO’s) Seismic Working Group (WG9)

05.14.2014 — Drew Gangnes and Brook Jacksha both presented at the inaugural AIA Seattle Water Forum.  Along with MKA Principal Jay Taylor and several other local industry leaders, both Drew and Brook were members of the steering committee for this first-of-its kind event, where conversations went beyond “What are the issues we’re facing?” to “What can we actually do about this in our next project meeting?”  Drew’s presentation, “Making the Business Case for Water Self-Sufficiency,” explored approaches for evaluating project water strategies and their financial impact, and Brook presented the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, a LEED Platinum, net-zero non-potable water project, as an example of successful water resource implementation.  Other presenters included Paula Kehoe of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which incorporated a Living Machine into their new headquarters, reducing their potable water consumption by 65%.

» AIA Seattle Water forum

04.22.2014 — Paul Spitznas presents “Seismic Design, Analysis, and Selection of Drilled Shafts Supporting Bridge Structures” at the Deep Foundations Institute Seminar: Practical Deep Foundation Design and Construction for Seismic & Lateral Loads, in Seattle, Washington

» Paul Spitznas presents “Seismic Design, Analysis, and Selection of Drilled Shafts Supporting Bridge Structures”

04.17.2014 — Dave Eckmann, MKA Senior Principal, presents "River Point Tower - Chicago’s First Post-Recession Office Tower" at the University of Illinois 15th Annual Structural Engineering Conference. River Point Tower, a 47-story, 88,258-m² (950,000-ft²) office tower with a 6,070-m² (1.5-acre) public plaza along the Chicago River,  is one of over 20 MKA office towers in Chicago, along with 111 South Wacker and 300 East Randolph

» Dave Eckmann Presents River Point Tower

04.16.2014 — Matt Streid, MKA Engineer,  presents "455 North Park Drive:  Chicago’s Latest Mixed-Use Development" with Joe Fox of Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Robbie Chung of Environmental Systems Design as a CTBUH Student Workshop (hosted by the CTBUH Yong Professionals Committee) at Crown Hall in Chicago, Illinois, on April 16, 2014

» Matt Streid presents 455 North Park Drive

04.11.2014 — MKA Principal Brook Jacksha presents "Parks: Their Role in the 21st Century City," with Debra Guenther of Mithun and Scott Miles of Western Washington University Resilience Institute to the American Society of Landscape Architects and Washington Recreation and Parks Association

» Parks: Their Role in the 21st Century City

04.09.2014 — MKA Engineer Taylor Bowen presents a "University of Washington Husky Stadium Renovation" tour with Kevin Hallstrom and Dave Johnson of Turner Construction for the Washington ACI Chapter Dinner Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

» Univ of WA Husky Stadium Tour ACI

04.03.2014 — John Hooper, MKA Senior Principal, presents "Development of Simplified Seismic Design Requirements for Seismic Design Category B Buildings in the ASCE7 Standard,"  "Recent Advancements in Performance-Based Seismic Design: Transbay Tower, San Francisco,"  and "Changes to Seismic Loading in ASCE 7" at the 2014 Structures Congress in Boston, Massachusetts.

» John Hooper Structures Congress

03.27.2014 — The Seattle chapter of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) held their inaugural event last night at Gensler’s office, kicking off with a discussion about the city’s growth and "Densifying the Neighborhood."  The invite-only event brought together about 50 individuals very active in Seattle’s A/E/C and development communities, particularly downtown.  A panel moderated by former Mayor and current developer Paul Schell included Sharon Coleman of Vulcan, Greg Smith of Urban Visions, Dennis Rehill of Gensler, Tom Hauger of the City of Seattle, and MKA’s Don Davies, who is also a member of CTBUH’s Advisory Board.  The discussion covered the future of Seattle’s development, with a focus on densification, design culture, sustainability, and Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.  A priority of the Seattle chapter will be shaping the future of the city. 

CTBUH is the world’s leading resource for professionals focused on the design, construction, and operation of tall buildings and future cities.

More Information...

» CTBUH Seattle Holds Inaugural Event

03.21.2014 — As we announced back in September, Jon Magnusson received ASCE’s “Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Lifetime Achievement Award in Design”.  Today, Jon officially accepted this honor—one of the highest in the engineering profession—at a black-tie gala in Washington D.C.  As part of the presentation, ASCE put together this profile of Jon’s tremendous accomplishments during his 38-year career.  Congratulations, Jon!

» Jon Magnusson Receives ASCE Opal Award

03.12.2014 — Ron Klemencic, Chairman and C.E.O, is awarded with an American Institute of Architects Honorary Membership, one of the highest honors the AIA grants to people outside the architecture profession.  Congratulations!

» Ron Klemencic receives Honorary AIA

02.12.2014 — MKA’s engineers aren’t the only ones at the firm leading their field!  A big congratulations to CFO Bill Christopher, who has just been named one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s CFOs of the Year!  Bill has been with MKA for nearly 14 years and, in that time, has made huge contributions to the firm and the industry.  Way to go, Bill!

» Bill Christopher wins CFO of the Year

01.17.2014 — This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a devastating event that spurred important changes to the practice of earthquake engineering worldwide.  The Northridge 20 Symposium brought together earthquake experts to reflect on the life-saving accomplishments of the last two decades and to identify further steps to improve the built environment across the state.  John Hooper, MKA’s Director of Earthquake Engineering, presented on one of the most transformative earthquake engineering concepts to emerge during the past two decades – Performance-Based Design (PBD).  He examined actual cases where new buildings where designed using PBD/ASCE 41 methods by demonstrating that the structures would achieve performance comparable to or better than stipulated by building codes.   Find out more about how MKA is leading the industry in Performance-Based Seismic Design.

» John Hooper Northridge 20 Symposium

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