Guy Nordenson: Reading structure

Guy Nordenson lectures on the collaborative work of his firm, Guy Nordenson and Associates, in this Current Work event.

February 19, 2014
7:00 p.m.

Guy Nordenson and Associates, with K Sejima and R Nishizawa / SANAA | New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY, 2007. Credit: Dean Kaufman

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

Guy Nordenson of Guy Nordenson and Associates Structural Engineers will present his work in a public lecture to be followed by a moderated conversation.

Recognized for his independent research and innovative, collaborative work with architects, Guy Nordenson, principal of the New York firm Guy Nordenson and Associates, is a structural engineer and professor of architecture and structural engineering at Princeton University. He began his career as a draftsman in the joint studio of R. Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi, and has practiced structural engineering since 1978. In 1987 Nordenson established the New York office of Ove Arup & Partners, serving as its director until 1997, when he began independent practice.

The structural engineer for over one hundred projects worldwide, Nordenson has worked on the Museum of Modern Art expansion in New York, the Jubilee Church in Rome, the Simmons Residence Hall at MIT, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Current projects include the expansion of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, and the Menil Drawing Center in Houston.

Nordenson’s research has included earthquake engineering, including code development, technology transfer, and long-range planning for FEMA and the USGS. He led the development of the New York City Seismic Code from 1984 to its enactment into law in 1995. His research project “On the Water | Palisade Bay” won the 2007 AIA College of Fellows Latrobe Research Prize, was published in 2010, and served as the inspiration for the MoMA workshop and exhibition Rising Currents. His books include Seven Structural Engineers – The Felix Candela Lectures in Structural Engineering, and the collection of essays Patterns and Structure. Nordenson was awarded the AIA’s Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award and was the first engineer to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He co-founded the Structural Engineers Association of New York, is commissioner and secretary of the New York City Public Design Commission, and is a member of the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

More recently Nordenson has been engaged in climate adaptation and flood hazards mitigation research, working to improve the resilience of New York as a member of committees and task forces including the New York State 2100 Commission and as director of the newly formed Jamaica Bay–Rockaway Parks Conservancy. His research team at Princeton was recently awarded a major grant by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop “New Directions in Coastal Resilient Design Strategies” in collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers and coordinating teams from Harvard, City College of New York, and University of Pennsylvania.d

Moderated by Henry Cobb. Cobb is a founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

This lecture is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



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