STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS OF THE 1962 SEATTLE WORLD'S FAIR
The Structural Engineers Foundation of Washington celebrates the structural engineers involved in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and documents the creation of enduring Seattle landmarks.
 
On May 30, 2012, the Structural Engineers Foundation of Washington assembled engineers Dick Chauner, Jack Christiansen, Gary Curtis, Victor Gray, Norm Jacobson, Tom Kane, Bob Mast, Fred Pneuman, and Einar Svensson and recorded their reflections on their engagement in and observations of creation of the structures defining Seattle as a city of innovation.
Click here to watch film.


WORLD'S FAIR STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING MOMENTS
See below a compilation of Fair-related excerpts from structural engineers' career profiles in the online SEAW Hall of Fame
*Harvey H. Johnson's projects included the Pavilion of Electric Power, which featured a spiral-shaped viewing platform overlooking a 40 ft tall shell that simulated a dam.  Three thousand gallons of water per minute flowed over the spillway into a large pond at the base, which also featured a map pinpointing dams in Washington State.
 
 
 
 
*Les Poole recalls from his days working with John Graham & Co. that an atmosphere of urgency influenced the design of the Space Needle:  "Howard Wright emphasized the critical schedule, asking 'What have you got that can get this done quickly?'  We came up with the concept of three I-beams joining at flange corners.  And peopled talked a lot about innovation in concrete."
 
 
 
 

 

 

*Trygve Bjornstad designed the Aquadrome circular water ski exhibit at the 1962 World's Fair, and told friends that "the hardest part was getting the damned elephants onto the center island" -- a circus performance area. His design incorporated a special bridge for the reluctant animals.
 
 
 
 



 
*Norm Jacobson's projects include the Seattle World's Fair Parking Garage in 1961, recognized by design awards and published in engineering magazines at the time. He presented "Seattle Center Self-Parking Facility" at the 15th Fall Convention of the American Concrete Institute held in Seattle September 28-29, 1962.
 
 
 
 
  
*Bob Mast recalls his work on the monorail for the Seattle World's Fair, especially on its curved beams: "Alweg's original design for the monorail beam bearings used machined bronze. These were very expensive, and required tight tolerances. Working with bearings specialist E Terry Dalton, we developed an alternative using laminated pads and stainless steel. I believe that was a new concept in 1960-61."





*Arthur Anderson developed the revolutionary curved and angled beams of the monorails in Seattle and at Disney World. The American Concrete Institute's publication Concrete Construction for the Century 21 Exposition included Anderson's article "Casting Curved Prestressed Monorail Beams."
 









*Fred Pneuman did work on the Home of Living Light (a temporary structure) for the Douglas Fir Plywood Association at the Seattle World's Fair.
 
 
 
 
 
  
 

*John Skilling worked on the design of the United States Science Pavilion (later Pacific Science Center) for the Seattle World’s Fair of 1962. Reviewing the project drawings, Skilling noted that the columns supporting the geometric domes seemed “a bit chunky.” He said, “I can make those columns thinner." The resulting graceful structures became emblematic of the fair’s futuristic theme, and remain a Seattle landmark.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other World's Fair engineers:
*Richard Chauner          *Tom Kane 
*Jack Christiansen        *John Jepson
*John K. Minasian         *Helge Helle   
*Gary Curtis           
*Lester Poole        
*Harvey Dodd                
*
Leslie E. Robertson              
*
B. Richal Smith
*Frank Hofmeister         
*
Einar Svensson
*Peter Hostmark            
*
Harold Worthington 

*At left:  Reprint from Civil Engineering, February 1962; Modern Steel Construction (AISC) January 1962, highlighting "Step into the Next Century: For a big problem of Man in the Space Age, structural steel provides down-to-earth answers"

"In Transit" at SEAW Spring Social:  Seattle Monorail engineer Einar Svensson with King County Executive Dow Constantine 6/14/12

 

 
 
 

 
  
 
 
Documentary team:  Howard Burton, Arne Carson, Jessica D'Amato, Linda D'Amato, Mark D'Amato, Clair Enlow, Jon Magnusson, Don Northey, Eric Pope, Marga Rose Hancock, April Shen, Tyler Sprague, Promotion Arts/Aaron Allen