News Archive


Milstein Hall

Cornell Univeristy's Milstein Hall Honored with 2012 SEAoNY Award

June 11, 2012 – The Structural Engineers Association of New York recognized Milstein Hall (OMA with KHA Architects) with a 2012 SEAoNY Excellence in Structural Engineering Award in the category of new buildings between $30 million - $100 million. Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 (Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP in partnership with workshop/apd) and Van Alen Books (LOT-EK) were also recognized as finalists in their categories – Renovation and Other Structures, respectively. This is the second year of the annual awards program.

RSA + SDC Create Monster
2012 Iron Designer Challenge

MonsterJune 7, 2012 – RSA engineers Ryan Miller, Ben Sippel, Karen Miller, and Kyle Twitchell worked with three student teammates from the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction (SDC) to create a monster as part of this year's Iron Designer Challenge. The event, now in its third year, is an annual fund raiser for the SDC. To compete, teams create their structures on the roof of the SDC in Manhattan in just three hours and in front of a live audience. While the RSA monster didn't garner any awards, it was, if we do say so ourselves, clearly the crowd favorite.




RSA to work on Admirals Row in Brooklyn Navy Yard

Admirals Row Quarters B Builders February 2012 – RSA has begun work with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) to stabilize two historic buildings as part of the redevelopment of Admirals Row in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The two buildings, Quarters B and the Timber Shed, will be incorporated into the new development. Quarters B is a Greek Revival and Italianate-style building dating from between 1859 and 1870 that was formerly a naval officer's mansion. The pre-Civil War Timber Shed was used for drying hardwood beams of tall-masted sailing ships and is the last of its kind in the country.

RSA also worked on the recently opened Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, an exhibition and visitors' center housed in a restored 1857 Marine Commandant’s Residence and a new, modern extension.

January 2012 – The Maryland 9/11 Memorial and the University of Virginia Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center were recognized by ACEC/MW with Honor Awards from the chapter. These awards qualified the projects to both proceed to the National Engineering Excellence Awards (winners will be announced in April).

image copyright Karl Connolly Photography c/o Ziger/Snead Architects

RSA Announces Staff Promotions

January 2012 – Robert Silman Associates is pleased to announce the promotions of the following:

to Senior Project Engineer to Senior Engineer to Project Engineer
Taehoo Kim
Eytan Solomon
Sara Steele
Andres George
John Dumsick (DC)
Mike Tomlin (DC)
Chris Ruiz (DC)
Jason Tipold
Sarah Towles
Justin Den Herder
Gretchen Druck
Sarah Fitzmaurice
Steven Anastasio (DC)
Adam Rush (DC)
Rebecca Buntrock
Ricardo Davila
Jen Jacobson
Paul Laroque
Matt Lytle
Lizzie Olsen
Victoria Ponce De Leon
Graham Seward
Ben Sippel

RSA CANstructs, Helps Fight Hunger

November 2011 – This year all three RSA offices participated in CANstruction, a program that raises awareness and donates food to thousands of needy families.

CANstruction2011 RSANY TiCANtic

The TiCANic RSA-NY embarked on an epic voyage that will go down in CANstruction lore as one of the greatest feats of structural ingenuity to ever be attempted, as well as one of the fastest builds in RSA history. The team arrived with a well-developed plan of attack which streamlined production of the sculpture, utilizing everyone's individual talents and skills. From Ben Rosenberg's lightning fast pizza ordering skills, to Victoria Ponce de Leon's unpack and stack skills and Matt Lytle's frustrating ability to be jovially demeaning. Cantilever technology pioneered by Justin Den Herder and Alex Baumel was used to add an air of drama to an already stunning 3'-2" corbel. All in all the structure took less than 6 hours to build, thanks to everyone's hard work.

CANstruction2011 RSADC Take A Byte Out of Hunger

Take a Byte Out of Hunger An apple a day, keeps...well, you know. RSA-DC envisioned an iconic representation of the early, now perhaps "retro", days of computer technology. Six levels of multi-colored, multi-fruit-'n-vegetabled cans unite to form a three-dimensional sculpture reminiscent of the original pixelated color computer screen. A variety of cans allowed designers to creatively stack and combine label colors, while promoting a healthy, balanced, computer-age diet. This year, DC CANstruction provided 47,000 pounds of canned goods – that's enough for 49,000 meals!

CANstruction2011 RSADC Take A Byte Out of Hunger

PUMA CAN City RSA-Boston provided the structural engineering services for Puma City’s North America project. Comprised of 24 shipping containers, Puma City required an innovative approach to modeling and structural design. The standard shipping containers were strengthened with structural steel to reinforce and stiffen around the openings and cantilevers. Puma City’s 40-foot-long shipping containers are artfully stacked and staggered to create large throughways and cantilevers and provide over 11,000 square feet of mobile retail space. Puma City visited Boston’s Fan Pier in 2009 as its only U.S. stop of the Volvo Ocean Race. When the race moved on, the containers were loaded up and shipped directly to the next port of call. RSA has scaled down the structure as an homage to the full-scale project, , creating PUMA CAN City. Like its full-scale counterpart, PUMA CAN City requires special structural reinforcing, in this case in the form of stiffened masonite panels. The sculpture amounts to over 3,660 cans of coconut milk, shelled beans, mixed vegetables, and ready-to-eat pasta – nearly 3,440 pounds of food!

Robert Silman Honored with 2011 Master Builder Award

September 2011 – This fall Bob Silman was awarded the 2011 Master Builder Award by the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia. The award is given annually to a distinguished architect, engineer, builder, or developer, and past recipients have included the Founder of Habitat for Humanity International, Millard Fuller, and architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, among many other luminaries in the field. As part of the events surrounding the awards ceremony, Bob presented an illustrated lecture on Fallingwater at the two-day conference in Philadelphia, "Master Builder Dialogues: Preserving America".

Banta Builds a House

James Banta hard at work

March 2011 – In March James Banta (RSA DC) went to Nicaragua as a volunteer with Bridges to Community. He was one of eleven volunteers from NY, PA, and Washington, DC who helped build a house for the Garcia Gomez family in Las Ceibitas, Masaya. They are a family of five: Jose and Celia are the parents of Angela (15), Scarleth (11), and Selenia (9). In addition to being excellent students the girls help their mom and dad with the family business of making shoes (approximately 40 pairs a day!)

Bridges brings people of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds together in Nicaragua to live and work, typically for one week, with local community members on health, education, and housing projects. His group built the new house with local masons, the family to live in the new house, and their relatives and neighbors.

Bridges to Community Team

For almost 20 years, Bridges to Community, based in Ossining, NY, has been working in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. In the wake of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, or political and economic exploitation, Bridges serves as a community development partner dedicated to cultural exchange, sustainable development, and being an agent of change both locally and globally. Over 3000 people have volunteered with Bridges including school groups, faith-based groups, and business/professional groups, such as Banta’s.

Garcia Gomez Family

The process of working, learning, and reflecting was fostered during the week in Nicaragua, and volunteers usually feel like they get much more from their trip than they give. One does not need to have any construction experience to be a valuable team member on a Bridges trip. Anyone interested in Bridges should contact Banta.

Nat Oppenheimer Introduces Renowned Architect Simón Vélez at Architectural League Lecture

Simon Velez Presentation

February 24, 2011 – RSA principal Nat Oppenheimer introduced Columbian architect Simón Vélez at a lecture presented as part of the Architectural League of New York's Current Work series, which features leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, and design. The presentation was co-sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. Vélez, a pioneer in the contemporary use of bamboo in design, showed current work and responded to questions - ably moderated by Nat - following the slide show of his projects, large and small, from around the world.

Read an engineer's response to the lecture

See Big Bambú, the bamboo sculpture installation that RSA helped construct on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Watch an excerpt of the lecture

Robert Silman Associates' Washington, DC Office Recognized as Official Bicycle Friendly Business

RSA Bike Friendly Business

The League of American Bicyclists in cooperation with a panel of judges and in consideration of local reviews, recently awarded Robert Silman Associates' Washington, DC office a Bronze designation for the Bicycle Friendly Business program. Out of 55 businesses, RSA is one of only two structural engineering firms recognized with a Bicycle Friendly Businesses award at this year's National Bike Summit.

Press Release

Robert Silman Associates is pleased to announce the following appointments to Associate:

Vassil Draganov

Vassil Draganov, PE
Washington, DC
Vassil joined RSA in 2008. He has extensive experience in all major structural systems, as well as experience in envelope assessment and adaptive reuse, and has a particular knowledge of aluminum structures. Clients with whom he has worked include Yale University, Cornel University, Lehigh University,  Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, Bryn Mawr College, and Monticello (Thomas Jefferson Foundation).

Since joining the firm, Vassil has worked on a number of higher educational projects, including Arcadia University's Kuch Commons, a new, three-story framed addition; and the University of Mary Washington Dahlgren Campus Center for Education & Research, a new, two-story research and education building.

Vassil is a graduate of the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering & Geodesy (Master of Science in Structural Engineering) in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Nicole Ferran

Nicole Ferran, PE
Washington, DC
Nicole has been with RSA since 2000. Her professional experience includes renovations, historic preservation, and new construction projects. In addition to her knowledge of structures and materials, she is fully conversant in the Secretary of the Interiors Standards and Guidelines for Historic Preservation, as well as other similar international historic preservation standards.

Since joining the firm, Nicole has worked on a wide range of projects, including President Lincoln's Cottage at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, an adaptive reuse of the cottage as the President Lincoln and Soldiers' Home National Monument; the Virginia State Capitol Restoration and Expansion; the United States Supreme Court Building Modernization; the Swiss Ambassador's Residence, design and construction of a new building with stringent sustainability requirements; and the design and construction of the new Science Building for the German School Washington.

Nicole is a graduate of the University of California (Master of Science in Structural Engineering), the University of Maryland (Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering) and Williams College (Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Asian Studies). She is a member of the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) International and the APT Washington, DC Chapter.

Ian Schmellick

Ian C. Schmellick, PE, LEED AP
Boston, MA
Ian joined RSA in 2008. With 13 years of experience in the field, he has particular expertise in long span steel structures and complex steel connection detailing for designs where his innovative structural engineering solutions have played an important role in helping architects achieve their aesthetic intentions.

Ian has been integral to a number of the firm's institutional projects, including many for primary, secondary, and higher education clients. Among these are the renovation, expansion, and addition to the 1920's Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; a new, 15-story school for Trevor Day School in New York City; and a new, 150,000 sf high school in Maspeth, NY, for the School Construction Authority. Other notable projects include the Tapestry Building in New York City, a 200,000 sf building for low-income housing, and the renovation and repair of Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, NY.

Ian is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University (Bachelor of Architectural Engineering), and is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA).

The National Trust for Historic Preservation Announces the New Robert Silman Fellow For Preservation Engineering

Rebecca Buntrock

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced that Rebecca Buntrock is the new Robert Silman Fellow for Preservation Engineering. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from McGill University and a Master of Engineering in Structural Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Named in honor of Robert Silman, the Silman Fellowship offers an exciting opportunity to a recent graduate with an engineering degree (B.S. or M.S.) in Civil Engineering or Structural Engineering and a Master of Science or Master or Arts in Historic Preservation, or a Master of Science in Structural Engineering. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education and advocacy to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its Washington, DC headquarters staff--six regional offices and 25 historic sites work with the Trust's 200,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states.

2010 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

Bob Silman

Robert Silman received the 2010 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award. The Conservancy bestows this award annually to recognize excellence in historic preservation. He was honored at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 21st at the American Museum of Natural History.