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Historic Resources Committee

  • COST

    Free and open to the public

  • TYPE

    Knowledge Community



“Boston’s King of Swing: the Northern Avenue Bridge – we don’t mean Benny Goodman”

For September, the Historic Resources Committee features preeminent structural engineer Robert Silman, President Emeritus of Silman -- the firm he founded in New York City over 50 years ago -- to focus on restoration of Boston’s Northern Avenue Bridge, constructed in 1908 as a symmetrical swing span over the Fort Point Channel. Explaining how swing bridges operate and what makes the machinery of the Northern Avenue Bridge unique, Mr. Silman will provide a physical description of the bridge, placing it in the context of truss typology and of nearby bridge spans. The presentation will summarize historical changes in area traffic patterns and recap how the bridge became classified as “historic.” Illustrating current physical conditions with photographs, Bob will detail preliminary steps undertaken by the City of Boston and the US Army Corps of Engineers to deal with the extreme deterioration, and will conclude his talk with a small selection of design submissions for the recent “Ideas Competition” co-sponsored by the City and the BSA.

Maintaining the vision “Creating, Renewing, Preserving, Sustaining…” since its founding in 1966 as a one-person practice, Silman now has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston, which together have participated in over 21,000 projects. To provide the highest quality structural engineering services possible, the principals have fostered an approach centered on constant collaboration among owners, architects, and other consultants. Silman pioneered the use of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques for existing and historic buildings, has been at the forefront of sustainable design strategies and remains an industry leader with regard to emerging technologies and concepts.

1.5 LUs/HSW are available

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