2014 40 Under 40: John Williams, PE, 35

Associate, Arup, San Francisco

By Silvia Chavez and Amara Rozgus May 19, 2014

John Williams, PE, 35
Associate, Arup, San Francisco
University of Manchester, MEng Mechanical Engineering

John Williams’ influence can be seen in sustainable and high-performance building design projects all around the world. His area of interest is passive design and how it improves the building performance for a sustainable future. More so, Williams loves the process of design, from sketching on a blank sheet of paper to ensuring appropriate analysis of buildings and systems using 3-D computational modeling methods. After Williams joined Arup’s London office in 1997, he immediately began applying his technical skills in energy analysis, comfort analysis, and system selections to different building types in varied climates. Williams is familiar with all stages of the design process as he has worked on a range of complex projects in different sectors including retail, education, residential, and commercial developments. He played an integral role throughout the entire design process of Northern Arizona University’s LEED Platinum Applied Research and Development (ARD) facility. On the ARD project, he optimized the passive design and form of the building systems with the architect to limit mechanical system needs. On other projects, Williams developed an under-floor air delivery system using the structural columns to ensure an even air distribution across a large floor plenum. More recently, he has had a keen interest in the use of radiant systems to further reduce energy consumption in buildings. Williams knows the importance of passing on the torch of sustainability to the next generation. He has volunteered with the engineering education scheme in the United Kingdom to help high school teams design building and energy systems for conceptual projects. During the past 4 years, Williams also has served as the student activities chair for ASHRAE’s Golden Gate Chapter, and he is a member of the San Francisco State University Engineering Advisory Board. Growing up in pubs and restaurants in the U.K., Williams developed his love of food and cooking at an early age. When he’s not working, he spends time in the kitchen designing new recipes before taking a run along the shoreline. He is also learning Spanish at the San Francisco Community College in anticipation of his next adventure.