2012 Tulane Engineering Forum School of Science and Engineering
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Graham Seward, PE, LEED AP

Graham Seward, PE, LEED AP

Graham Seward began his career at Silman in 2008 after receiving his Bachelor of Science (2007) and Masters of Engineering (2008) from Cornell University.  During his time at the firm, Graham has worked on and managed dozens of projects ranging in size and complexity from tenant fit-outs to private residences to large institutional buildings while working in both the New York and Boston offices.  The projects cover the spectrum from new construction to renovations and have dealt with all common building materials (including steel, concrete, masonry, and wood). Notable projects include the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.; the Lefrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY; and the Brooklyn Academy of Music Fisher building in Brooklyn, NY.

Graham’s love of engineering extends beyond the office as he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) for three semesters as well as having served as a jury critic at NYIT, MIT, and Harvard Graduate School of Design.  While in New York, Graham also served on the Structural Engineers Association of New York Education Foundation committee, which provides scholarships for students pursuing a degree in structural engineering.

Presentation Description

The National Museum of African American History and Culture: A Structural Perspective

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on September 24, 2016, in Washington, DC. A century in the making and nestled in the last open space on the National Mall, this 409,000 square foot museum tells the story of the African American experience from the beginnings of the slave trade to the current day. Two-thirds of the building sits below-grade, including the permanent chronological history gallery, while the above-grade galleries include contributions by African Americans in the arts, athletics, media, and industry.

This presentation will discuss the overall structural approach to the building with a focus on subgrade challenges related to hydrostatic forces; the design of a column-free above-grade superstructure, including the coordination of temporary shoring and bracing; an overview of the construction administration process required to meet the U.S. Congress mandated opening date; and a brief discussion on exhibit design and the challenges some of the museum’s largest objects posed.

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