John K. Minasian

Seattle World's Fair:  Space Needle
d. 10/20/2007, age 94
 
Born in Alexandria, Egypt to a family of Armenian descent, John K. Minasian immigrated to the US at age 3.  Raised in New Jersey, he attended the City College of New York before moving to Los Angeles in 1935.  He earned the BS and MS (1944) in Civil Engineering at Cal Tech. 
 
After working during the war years for LA Water & Power and the Building Department, John established a structural engineering practice in 1947, based in Pasadena. With a specialty in tower construction, he designed more than 80 towers.
 
 

For the 1962 World's Fair, architect John Graham brought in John Minasian as chief consulting engineer on the design of the the Space Needle structure.  Minasian Associates employee Gary Noble Curtis recalls working as a lead on the Needle's foundation and "top house" along with other aspects of the project.  At the time of its construction, the Space Needle ranked as the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. 
 
Minasian Associates designed rocket engine test stands for Atlas and Saturn F1 rockets and the Saturn assembly gantry at Cape Kennedy, two television towers on Mt. Wilson, and restoration of the twin towers at the Santa Barbara Mission. 
 
Following his appointment to the California Board of Civil & Professional Engineers, John became the Board's President.  He also served on the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles as a Professor of Engineering.
 
Additional reference:  Knute Berger, Space Needle: Spirit of Seattle
Space needle drawing provided by DLR Group

Posted May 2012, updated September 2012