Seattle's New Federal Courthouse Garners Best Engineering Award

A gleaming 23-story U.S. Courthouse complex in downtown Seattle was named the year’s most impressive engineering achievement at the 40th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies, Washington, D.C.



Representatives from Seattle-based Magnusson Klemencic Associates received ACEC’s “Grand Conceptor Award” during ceremonies in Washington D.C. last night attended by more than 800 engineering firm owners and principals and dignitaries from around the world.

The new courthouse, featuring a soaring all-glass lobby with reflecting pool, and column-free courtrooms with 20-foot-high ceilings, is one of the safest structures ever built, specifically designed to withstand power of nature or the explosion of a terrorist attack.

In answering a General Services Administration (GSA) requirement for a state-of-the-art facility, the embodies a never-before-used structural system that protects it against bomb blasts and progressive building collapse. Explosion resistance was, in fact, a primary consideration in every decision regarding building materials. Results from independent tests funded by GSA showed that the new structural system exceeded performance of all steel structural methods currently in the building code. GSA subsequently has adopted the new system as a model for all future secure government building construction.

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