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Thornton Tomasetti-Engineered Projects Win Midwest Construction’s Best of 2009 Awards

December 04, 2009

Thornton Tomasetti, the international engineering firm with practices in building structure, building skin and building performance, was the structural engineer for three Midwest-based projects receiving top honors from Midwest Construction magazine. The University of Chicago’s Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery received the Higher Education/Research Award of Merit; The Clare at Water Tower secured the Multi-Family Residential/Hospitality Award of Merit; and the Indianapolis International Airport, Col H. Weir Cook Terminal Building won the Outstanding Engineering Function and Aesthetic Award.

Thornton Tomasetti, along with architecture firm Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP, were on the design team for The University of Chicago’s Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery. Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for a 330,000-square-foot science and medical research facility for The University of Chicago. The 10-story concrete building, one of the tallest structures on the University’s Hyde Park campus, accommodates the wet laboratory programs of the departments of medicine and pediatrics and cancer research.

The Clare at Water Tower, a 54-story “life care” retirement center located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast, was developed into a structural system that allows for many variations from floor to floor to accommodate the range of program requirements throughout the height of the building. The architectural design called for as few columns as possible to maximize tenant use of space and to meet the tight space constraints of the previously developed site. Thornton Tomasetti and architectural firm Perkins+Will collaborated on the design which boasts a concrete frame exposed on all sides, requiring close integration of the structural and architectural specifications.

Thornton Tomasetti, in collaboration with architecture firm HOK, provided structural design services for Indianapolis International Airport’s new 40-gate airport terminal. The main design feature is the terminal roof, which is supported on column “trees” constructed from four pipe sections that splay in four directions as they reach the roof trusses. These trees, spaced 120 feet to150 feet apart, leave a vast open space to accommodate the ticketing area. A circular, glass skylight covers the spacious Civic Plaza on the ticketing level.

Midwest Construction’s “Best of 2009 Awards” are a series of special events to celebrate and honor the building teams that created the best projects of 2009 nationwide. The winning projects are selected by juries of local prominent industry professionals.

About Thornton Tomasetti (
Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering services to clients worldwide on buildings of all sizes and complexity. From the tallest buildings and the longest spans, to innovative building systems and materials, the firm is committed to creating the best solutions through its technical ingenuity, pursuit of excellence, and responsiveness to client needs. Our work is in three practice areas: Building Structures, Building Skin and Building Performance. Founded in 1956 as Lev Zetlin & Associates, today Thornton Tomasetti is a 650-person organization of engineers and architects collaborating from offices across the United States and in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, and the Middle East.

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