Olsson Associates


Safe, efficient, elegant designs the hallmarks of Olsson’s Vertical Structures group

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sarah Ferdico, Communications

3D rendering of Olsson's Lincoln officeIt’s because of the expertise of Olsson structural engineers like Adam Christensen, Olsson’s Structural group leader, that we don’t all work and live in bunkers.
Adam recalled a conversation he had one day with a highly regarded structural engineer. Adam said he was told that “anyone could design a building that stands up. It takes a structural engineer to design a building that ‘barely’ stands up under the maximum demands of the environment.”

Adam is part of Olsson’s Vertical Structures group, which is responsible for designing buildings that are engineered for safety but still offer pleasing, economical designs for all types of projects.

“We focus on developing safe, simple, and elegant solutions that consider the structure’s economics, constructability, and aesthetics,” Adam said. “We try not to overdesign and we never under-design, and we do it all as efficiently and with as much responsiveness to the client as possible.”

The Guides

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa towerUnder the guidance of the International Building Code (IBC), Adam and his group use a variety of references and software programs to guide their designs for clients. Adam said modern analysis and powerful computer design tools allow engineers a level of flexibility, creativity, and efficiency unimaginable prior to the computer age.
Adam said structural engineers at the forefront of the industry are pushing the envelope with these modern computing tools. Examples of these tools being put to use include buildings designed by the innovative architect Frank Gehry, recently built super-slender towers, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest man-made structure in the world (see photo at left).

At Olsson, engineers have jumped head-first into 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) as their preferred project deliverable or plan production approach. Team members have realized huge efficiencies and time savings in projects by fully leveraging BIM capabilities with Olsson’s analysis and design program capabilities.

The Projects

The types of projects Adam and his team have applied their expertise to is long—and not all are “vertical” in nature. Some projects are even buried in the ground or described as more horizontal. These projects include the following:

  • Multistory steel buildings, both commercial and industrial
  • Multistory concrete buildings, both commercial and industrial
  • Multistory, wood-framed commercial buildings
  • Multistory, structural-masonry buildings, both commercial and industrial
  • American Water Works Association (AWWA) water tank foundations
  • American Petroleum Institute (API) oil and ethanol tank foundations
  • Wind turbine foundations
  • Pre-engineered metal building foundations
  • Waste water treatment plant design
  • Specialized component design (pipe supports and hangers, precast concrete, aluminum curtain wall, fiberglass panels, bridge cranes, jib cranes, etc.)
  • Retaining walls
  • Critical lift plans
  • Construction engineering
  • Forensic engineering
  • Value engineering
  • Code plans
  • Additions, subtractions, assessments, studies, and "you name it"

The Future

Over the next 10 years, Adam said he’d like Olsson’s Vertical Structures group to become a regionally recognized commercial/industrial structural design provider known for high quality, elegance, and innovation. He would like to grow the team by building relationships both internally and externally, and by establishing a permanent structural engineering presence in all the larger Olsson offices.

If you’d like more information on how Olsson’s Vertical Structures team can assist your projects’ designs, please contact Adam at 402.938.2431 or achristensen@olssonassociates.com.

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