What’s Happening at MKA

10.19.2017 — MKA is proud to be partnering with AISC, The Charles Pankow Foundation, Purdue University and others on development and research of a new Concrete-Filled Composite Plate Shear Wall system.

The system is being developed for use in high-rise towers and consists of two steel plates connected by steel spacing ties and filled with high-strength concrete. You can read more about the project in this AISC Press Release.

More exciting is that we will be putting this system into practice constructing the new Rainier Square high-rise tower in Seattle, WA. The project is anticipated to be delivered up to four-and-a-half months faster than a traditional concrete core, saving construction time and resources.

Our Chairman and CEO, Ron Klemencic P.E., S.E., Hon. AIA and Professor Amit H. Varma at Purdue University are scheduled to present their research on this system at the 2018 NASCC: The Steel Conference, April 11-13 in Baltimore.

» MKA Research on CF-CPSW Systems

09.26.2017 — MKA staff, friends, and family joined together on Saturday, September 23rd, to complete another successful community service project! This year we worked with the YWCA on several projects at their downtown facility. We had 60 volunteers in all, an MKA Community Service record!

Projects included painting, purchasing and assembling 72 pieces of furniture, potting succulent planters to brighten resident’s rooms, and designing and building 3 standing planter boxes for the resident’s rooftop garden.

This year’s co-leaders, Jennifer Diggs and Kelsey Price, made sure everything ran smoothly from day-one to build day. Additionally, individual team leaders planned logistics, design, and lead their teams on build day.

Thanks to everyone who participated — you are truly #MKAwesome!

» MKA Community Service Day 2017

09.18.2017 — With heavy hearts, we said goodbye back in August to one of our firm’s engineering giants, Jack Christiansen. Among other achievements, Jack was well known for his mastery of thin-shell concrete structures. Jack was a part of our firm from 1952 until his retirement in 1983 when the firm was known as Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, Robertson.

Thanks to the Structural Engineers Foundation of Washington (SEFW), part of Jack Christiansen’s story is preserved in this short film (link here) highlighting the Structural Engineers of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Learn more about the U.S. Science Pavilion design (now known as the Pacific Science Center) in which Jack collaborated with Minoru Yamasaki. Listen to Jack himself starting at the 12-minute mark — as well as seeing Jack’s design of the International Commerce and Industry Building’s flower-like roof canopies in thin-shell concrete at the 28:30 mark. These structures are a must-see, as they were a beautiful expression of structure which unfortunately no longer exist on the site.

» Jack Christiansen History

07.10.2017 — On July 10th, our MKA summer interns toured the Second and Pike residential project currently under construction in downtown Seattle.  Representatives of Sellen Construction led the group to the uppermost residential floor that was near-ready for concrete placement.

Philip Beasley, an MKA design engineer on the project, led the tour and described some of the significant structural design features. The visit concluded with observations of the Level 8 amenity floor to see the installed curtain wall, MEP rough-in, and a steel canopy structure — with a final stop at a completed residential unit on Level 2.

Each summer MKA is proud to bring on 5-7 interns, letting them experience true hands-on engineering! Welcome to this year’s interns (from left to right), Iris Kwong, Olga Pavlenko, James Gaitan, Marissa Gelms, and Eric Fleet.

» 2017 Summer Interns Tour 2nd and Pike

06.17.2017 — The long-awaited Jimi Hendrix Park had its official unveiling on Saturday, June 17 in Seattle’s Central District. The park’s design echoes many of the themes found in Jimi’s music. The walkway to the central plaza incorporates Jimi’s life and career in a purple ribbon timeline featuring lyrics from timeless Hendrix songs, such as “Little Wing” and “Angel.”

MKA’s Cultural group assisted Murase Associates with the structural design of the central shelter, reminiscent of butterfly wings. The shelter will serve as an amphitheater for live performances. Design Engineer, Katie Reif, P.E., explained, "It was a very organic shape, which they loved, but made it potentially really expensive to build. Instead, we developed a parametric model in Rhino and Grasshopper to generate similar geometries that could be constructed entirely out of single curvature rolled plate and HSS sections. Since it was a parametric model, the architect could tweak the parameters to create a form that kept the organic feel – while maintaining the easy constructability."

Jimi Hendrix Park is located in at 2400 South Massachusetts Street, adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum. To learn more about the project, visit the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation website, www.jimihendrixparkfoundation.org.

(Photo credits: Mike Savoia and Murase Associates.)

» Jimi Hendrix Park Grand Opening

06.13.2017 — The ACE Mentor Program of Washington held its Industry Leaders Reception last week and awarded $85,000 in scholarships to ACE seniors! 160 students completed this year’s ACE program which mentors high school students in the Architecture, Construction and Engineering fields.

Senior Principal, David Fields, P.E., S.E., LEED AP, was on hand along with ACE President Rob Widmeyer of LMN Architects, to present a $5,000 Magnusson Klemencic Associates Award to Kevin Garcia of Bothell High School.  Kevin also received a $5,000 ACE Award, for a total scholarship award of $10,000. Kevin will study civil engineering at the University of Washington next year.

MKA is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of ACE and our dedicated Design Engineers proudly volunteer their time to mentor the students.  For additional photos of the event, visit the ACE Seattle Facebook page here. Congratulations to all!

(Photo Credit: LMN Architects)

» ACE Industry Leaders Reception 2017

06.08.2017 — MKA is proud to announce that River Point Tower in Chicago has been awarded Best Project Over $150 Million by the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI). The tower’s innovative structural system utilizes an arrangement of inward sloping columns to avoid the railroad tracks below and the response to the challenging site conditions ultimately becomes celebrated in architectural form. It’s striking convex shape creates panoramic city views with efficient, column-free floor plates, and floor-to-ceiling glass. Congratulation to the entire River Point Tower team!

» River Point Tower Wins SEAOI Best Project

05.04.2017 — MKA engineers Meagan Hedlund, James Mahoney, Jeremy Hasselbauer, and Joey Piotrowski spent a Friday afternoon touring the SR-99 Replacement Tunnel and its tunneling machine, nicknamed Bertha.

The SR-99 Tunnel is a massive engineering effort happening right under Seattle’s feet and is part of a larger program that includes improvements like the Elliott Bay Seawall Project — a recent ACEC Grand Award winner project that MKA’s Civil group provided coordination for public-realm and habitat restoration elements, as well as the seawall’s interface with the long-term plan for a viaduct-free waterfront.

What was the coolest part of the tour? Learning that the end of the tunnel is pressurized to hold back soil when workers make repairs to Bertha’s cutting heads. Because of the pressurization, there is also a decompression chamber for the workers — similar to what deep-sea divers use.

Bertha has reached the end of her journey beneath Seattle as crews continue to construct the tunnel’s double-deck roadway inside.  The project is anticipated to be completed in 2019.

» MKA Engineers Tour SR-99 Tunnel and Bertha

04.27.2017 — MKA’s Senior Principals, Jon Magnusson, P.E., S.E., Hon. AIA and Drew Gangnes, P.E., S.E., were excited to be on hand for the 50th Anniversary of the ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards in Washington DC. MKA’s entry for Seattle’s Elliott Bay Seawall Habitat and Public Space was honored with a Grand Award.

MKA’s design was recognized by ACEC for a number of innovations, including a stacked pedestrian promenade public space over the salmon migration corridor, complex daylight modeling and analysis of a custom light-penetrating sidewalk (LPS) solution, oversight of the LPS panels and of artistically textured face panels and habitat shelves fronting the new seawall, and more.

Congratulations to all the winners, including Seattle’s own SR 520 Floating Bridge which took home the highest ACEC honor of the evening – the Grand Conceptor Award.

Photo: Risdon Photography

» MKA Wins ACEC Grand Award

04.18.2017 — A new guide for design professionals is set to be released in mid-2017 with a focus on water use and reuse. Water being a finite resource, new building projects benefit from considering some level of water self-sufficiency that is good not only for the bottom line of the building but also for the impact on the environment.

The guide entitled, the Non-Potable Water Reuse Practice Guide, is written in language that can be easily understood and easily shared with clients, building owners and operators, and the public.

MKA was happy to provide sponsorship for developing the practice guide and MKA Principal, Matt Jones, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, is serving as a member of the Water Reuse Practice Guide Working Group.

For more information and to read an excerpt of the upcoming guide, visit the AIA California Council’s website here.

» MKA Sponsors Water Re-Use Guide

03.17.2017 — Continually raising the bar and always striving for better at MKA, the following six individuals have been promoted to new heights:


Sean Clifton, P.E., S.E. LEED AP — Sean is focused on the unique design aspects of residential, hospitality buildings, and mixed-use developments.  Current projects include the Marriott AC/Le Meridien in Denver and the McCormick Place Marriott in Chicago.

Adam Theiss, P.E., S.E. — Adam has led the design of office and residential high-rise projects throughout the U.S.  Current projects include the River Point Office Tower and Wolf Point East Residential Tower, both in Chicago.


James Mahoney, P.E., LEED AP — James is an active member of MKA’s Healthcare Specialist Group, currently working on the UW Medicine Phase 3.2 project.

Peter Range, P.E., LEED AP BD+C — Peter is an active member of MKA’s Sports Specialist Group, currently working on the Detroit Redwings Event Center.

Griffin Smith, P.E., S.E., LEED AP — Griffin is an active member of the Cultural Specialist Group, currently working on the Seattle Opera Expansion at Seattle Center.

Jana Tetikova, P.E. — Jana focuses on high-rise residential towers and luxury hotels, and is currently working on the Trinity residential development in San Francisco.

» 2017 MKA Promotions

02.13.2017 — We are proud to announce Senior Principal, David Eckmann, SE, PE, FAIA has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, approximately three percent of members are recognized as fellows.

Dave’s training as both an architect and a structural engineer gives him a unique perspective and understanding of both aesthetic and technical requirements. Many of Dave’s projects feature structure as architecture. Both aesthetically compelling and structurally innovative, these projects also feature systems that push material limits. Most recently on River Point Tower in Chicago, his design of sloped columns at the base allowed the tower to fit on a constrained site with a solution that is celebrated in the architectural form.

The 2017 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando. Congratulations, Dave!

» Dave Eckmann Elevated to AIA Fellow

01.26.2017 — MKA is pleased to announce that Kevin Carroll, AUTODESK CP, AIA, and Sarah Moline, M.B.A., have joined MKA’s management team. Kevin, Building Information Model (BIM) Manager, will lead MKA’s BIM department, and Sarah, Communications and Marketing Manager, will lead the marketing department.

Kevin brings 28 years of experience as an AEC professional with a passion for design technology and its effective use to further collaborative projects. He is a licensed architect and has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Pierce College teaching Revit and 3D modeling.

Sarah has 15 years of marketing, communications, and management experience, most recently with Crane Aerospace & Electronics. She will be working closely with firm leaders to hone MKA’s strategic communication and marketing vision and goals, leveraging the firm’s rich 97-year history.

» Department Head Additions at MKA

01.24.2017 — MKA was pleased to attend the 50th Annual ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards in Bellevue on Friday evening. The event, sponsored by the Washington State chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies, honored 42 exemplary engineering projects in categories from structural systems to environmental design.

MKA received the top Platinum award for its work on the Elliott Bay Seawall along Seattle’s waterfront. MKA managed the design integration of the project’s public space and habitat restoration components, and their interface with the long-term concept plan for the viaduct-free waterfront. Among other habitat features below the sidewalk, the Seawall Promenade includes a light penetrating sidewalk (LPS) to bring natural light into the salmon migration corridor beneath it.

The top seven projects (one Platinum and 6 Gold) will advance to compete at the ACEC National competition in April.  Congratulations to all the winners!

To read more, download the special section to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce here.

» MKA’s Elliott Bay Seawall Project Wins Platinum Award

MKA News