The Skyscraper Museum
2011 Making New York History Awards
The Skyscraper Museum

2017 Making New York History Award

On June 21, 2017, The Skyscraper Museum saluted, for the first time in its twenty-year history, the profession of structural engineering by honoring five firms with a long and proud legacy in creating New York City's skyline. Before a convivial crowd of more that 150, the Museum presented the 2017 Making New York History Award to leaders of the outstanding engineering companies:

Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Severud Associates
Thornton Tomasetti

* * *

After welcoming the many engineers and architects in attendance, Museum founder and director Carol Willis introduced trustee and Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record, Cathleen McGuigan, who in turn introduced her colleague Janice Tuchman, Editor-in-Chief of ENR. Offering the champagne toast, Jan both poked fun at and praised "her people," the under-sung profession of structural engineers.

Presenting the awards to the individual firms was Skyscraper Museum board Chairman Jamie von Klemperer, a skyscraper architect and President of KPF, who recognized the firms' longevity in New York's high-rise history. After the five firms' representatives accepted the awards and shared praise for colleagues, a special recognition was awarded to Leslie E. Robertson for a lifetime of achievement in innovative engineering and design of classic modern structures.

These skyscrapers represent early and recent examples of the (mostly) New York City towers of the five firms. As paired, top and bottom: DeSimone: 17 State Street and 111 Murray; LERA: World Trade Center and Bank of China, Hong Kong; Severud: Seagram Building and One Vanderbilt Avenue; Thorton Tomasetti: CBS/ Black Rock and New York Times Building; WSP USA: One WTC and 432 Park Avenue.

Accepting the Awards for their Firms:


Stephen DeSimone, President & CEO

DeSimone Consulting Engineers was established in New York in 1969 by Vincent J. DeSimone, who led the firm as senior Principal-in-Charge of design until he passed away in November 2016. Stephen DeSimone joined his father and the firm in 1988 and is now President and CEO. Focusing especially on residential projects, DeSimone’s recent designs in New York City include the super-slender towers 220 Central Park South, 125 Greenwich Street, 252 E. 57 Street, 50 West Street, and 45 E. 22 Street. WATCH THE VIDEO


SawTeen See, Managing Partner Nayan Trivedi, Partner

Leslie E. Robertson Associates traces its history back to the W.H. Witt Company, founded in Seattle in 1923. Leslie Robertson joined the firm in 1958, when it was known as Worthington-Skilling. Starting out as a young engineer, he became a partner, and with the commission for the design of the structure of the World Trade Center, the firm Skilling, Helle, Christiansen opened a New York office, led by Robertson. The firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates was established in 1986. Founding principal Les Robertson retired as a partner at the end of 1994 and continued to work on projects through 2012. The firm’s many innovative skyscrapers around the world include the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the Shanghai World Financial Center, Lotte World Tower in Seoul, and One World Tower in Mumbai. WATCH THE VIDEO


Edward DePaulo, President & CEO John Cryan, Past President & CEO The firm Severud has its origins in New York City in 1928, when Norwegian immigrant Fred N. Severud began his engineering practice. Growing over the decades through several partnerships, the company became, simply, Severud Associates in 1984. The firm’s contributions to New York include the classic skyscraper the Seagram Building, completed in 1958; the Equitable Tower (now the AXA Equitable Center); the Thomas Reuters Building at 3 Times Square, and the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. They are currently at work on One Vanderbilt Avenue. WATCH THE VIDEO


Thomas Scarangello, Chairman & CEO Raymond Daddazio, President

Today’s Thornton Tomasetti has its roots in the founding firms Weidlinger Associates, in 1949, and Lev Zetlin Associates (LZA) in 1956. Partners Charlie Thornton and Richard Tomasetti, who joined LZA in 1960 and 1968, purchased the firm in 1977. The company remains Thornton Tomasetti, even as new companies are added. TT’s New York City legacy includes classic skyscrapers such as the CBS “Black Rock” and the 2007 New York Times Building. In the late 1990s, Thornton Tomasetti exported its talents worldwide to design a series of the world’s tallest towers, including Petronas Towers, Taipei 101, and the rising Jeddah Tower. WATCH THE VIDEO


David Cooper, President, U.S. Buildings Jeffrey Smilow, Executive Vice President

The global business management and consultancy services organization WSP has its engineering origins in New York in the companies Cantor Seinuk, formed by Irwin Cantor and Ysrael Seinuk in 1971, and MEP engineers Flack + Kurtz. Skyscrapers such Helmsley Palace and Trump Tower formed their New York portfolio. Recently, the firm has specialized in the design of residential towers of extreme height and slenderness, including 432 Park Avenue, 220 Central Park South, 56 Leonard, and 111 W. 57th Street. WATCH THE VIDEO


Leslie E. Robertson Leslie Earl Robertson, Structural Engineer, LLC

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Leslie E. Robertson for his legacy in innovations in structural engineering and design of classic modern skyscrapers.

Founding principal of Leslie E. Robertson Associates, established in 1986, Les retired as a partner at the end of 1994 and continued to work on LERA projects through 2012. He continues to practice as Leslie Earl Robertson, Structural Engineer, LLC. WATCH THE VIDEO

For details on Patron Packages and tickets, CLICK HERE or contact our office at 212-945-6324 or [email protected].

Contributors to The Skyscraper Museum

The Skyscraper Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following companies and individuals in honoring New York City's outstanding structural engineers:

DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC
Carol & Mark Willis

Hilary Ballon
Related Hudson Yards
SL Green Realty Corp.
Thornton Tomasetti
Turner Construction

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc
Architectural Record
Ann & Larry Buttenwieser
JDS Development Group
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
L & L Holding
Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

AECOM Tishman
CNY Group
Edward J. Minskoff
Hill West Architects
Syska Hennessy Group
Urban Foundation Engineering

Robert Berne
James F. Capalino + Associates, Inc.
Douglaston Development
Robert A. Fitch, Partner, Rawle & Henderson
Future Tech Consultants of NY
Brandon Haw Architecture
Heintges & Associates
IBI Group/Gruzen Samton
Kaufman Organization
Daryl Libow
Loews Hotels
Ken and Ronnie Lowenstein
Mancini Duffy
Marcus Attorneys
MdeAS Architects
Leslie Earl Robertson Structural Engineer LLC
Lehrer, LLC
Lynne B. Sagalyn
Drew Moss
Rafael Pelli
James Sanders
Sciame Construction, LLC
SawTeen See
Gordon H. Smith
Rafael Viñoly Architects
Washington Square Partners
Winter Properties
Arthur Zeckendorf
Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support for the event from: Claire & Stan Altman, Banker Steel, Cimolai USA, LLC, Code Consultants Inc., Colliers International, David R. Jones, Esq., Dattner Architects, FXFOWLE Architects, Gene Kaufman Architect PC, Philip Habib & Associates, HOK, Joy Construction Corp., Don Lebowitz & Claudia Wagner, Nicholas Lembo, Kenneth Levien, Longman Lindsey, Ken & Ronnie Lowenstein, Mueser Rutledge, RKTB Architects, STV, Taconic Investment Partners, LLC, VDA, Vidaris, Inc.

Click here to view past events.

Beginning in 1998, our distinguished honorees of the MAKING NEW YORK HISTORY AWARD have been: Kenneth T. Jackson & Robert A.M. Stern, John L. Tishman and Daniel R. Tishman, Douglas Durst, Larry Silverstein, The Port Authority of NY and NJ with Anthony R. Coscia and Christopher O. Ward, The Battery Park City Authority, The Empire State Building in honor of--in the tower's 79th year--the glorious restoration of its original Art Deco lobby and the beginning of a transformative "green" rejuvenation, 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza with Frank J. Bisignano and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Daniel L. Doctoroff, CEO & President of Bloomberg and former NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, and Brookfield Office Properties, on the 25th anniversary of The World Financial Center, Stephen M. Ross, Gerald Hines, and Kohn Pedersen Fox. .