Seattle's Swedish Orthopedic Institute project wins AISC national design award

May 21, 2009 |

(Chicago, IL) – The Swedish Orthopedic Institute project in Seattle has earned national recognition in the 2009 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a public ceremony at the institute on Wednesday, May 20 at 11 am. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include owner Swedish Medical Center, Seattle; architect NBBJ, Seattle; structural engineer Lund & Everton LLC, Vashon, Wash.; AISC certified member structural steel fabricator Fought & Company, Inc., Tigard, Ore; structural steel detailer Steel Systems Engineering, Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif; general contractor Sellen Construction Co., Seattle; consultant CB Richard Ellis, Seattle.

The Swedish Orthopedic Institute project is a Merit Award Winner in the category of projects Greater than $75 million, making it one of only four projects in the country to earn an award in this category. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

The Swedish Orthopedic Institute is the first specialized orthopedic facility in the Northwest and now the first building in Seattle to use the design of special steel moment frames using AISC 358-05 (Prequalified Connections for Special and Intermediate Steel Moment Frames for Seismic Applications). Structural engineering firm Lund & Everton LLC and the project team worked with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development to approve the use of the design methodology for this particular project before the official code adoption of AISC 358.

"The Swedish Orthopedic Institute project deserves recognition for utilization of advanced design techniques while proposed code modifications were still under review," commented Raymond Clark, AIA, LEED AP, of Perkins+Will, a judge in the competition. "It demonstrates that design community and code enforcement agencies can work harmoniously to achieve efficient designs in structural steel."

The Swedish Orthopedic Institute recently combined its orthopedic and spine services together under one new roof to vastly streamline its care. As a result, patient spaces were completely re-thought to produce better flow from pre-surgical testing and education all the way to discharge. Structural steel framing was chosen for the structural layout to fulfill the need for large column-free spans on the surgery floor and a grid that would accommodate both the inpatient nursing unit and physician office configurations stacked above it. The architects and engineers looked at many options for the floor layout and systems before developing a tower floor plan with 12 interior columns in the 22,000-gsf footprint.

The project was designed and completed in record time due to the fast-track processes initiated by the entire team; BIM (Building Information Modeling) was used in the project to speed the design and ensure the coordination between disciplines. Clark Lindsay of project management firm CB Richard Ellis Group, said, "The streamlined approach to steel design in combination with BIM helped coordinate both the design and construction in a more efficient manner. This was one of the important factors that allowed the initial construction schedule to be compressed from 22 months down to 19 months."

The 11 IDEAS2 winners for 2009 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC's existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, "The entire Swedish Orthopedic Institute project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create sustainable buildings that combine innovation and practicality. The result is a facility that serves its staff and patients extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel."

Photos of the Swedish Orthopedic Institute project are available upon request. Please contact Tasha O'Berski at AISC via e-mail,, or by phone, 312.670.5439.

About the American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC's mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.



Tasha O'Berski

Public Relations Specialist

American Institute of Steel Construction

One East Wacker Dr., Suite 700

Chicago, IL 60601

P: 312.670.5439

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