Robert Sinn

Principal, Thornton Tomasetti, Chicago, IL

From Bilbao to Jeddah: An Engineer's Journey

Friday, March 23, 2018– 4:30 pm

Location: Whitaker Lab 303, Lehigh University,5 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA

Robert Sinn, P.E., S.E. is a principal in Thornton Tomasetti’s Chicago office. His 30-plus years of experience in structural engineering include 23 years at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he worked on the design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. His portfolio with Thornton Tomasetti includes mixed-use towers in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as the Middle East, where the one-kilometer-tall Jeddah Tower, for which he is the structural principal in charge, is under construction in Saudi Arabia.

Bob is renowned in the AEC industry for innovative engineering of tall and supertall buildings. In 1999, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recognized him with the Innovations in Civil Engineering Award for his work on the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and in 2008, he earned a State-of-the-Art in Civil Engineering Award as co-author of the paper “Validating Wind-Induced Response of Tall Buildings: Synopsis of the Chicago Full-Scale Monitoring Program.” Bob is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, the ASCE and the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering. He holds an MSCE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSCE from Northwestern University. He is a licensed professional engineer in several states, and a licensed structural engineer in Illinois. 

From Bilbao to Jeddah: An Engineer's Journey. Two projects were conceived 20 years apart: One, a three-story museum in the capital city of Spain’s Basque Country, changed the face of architecture upon opening in 1997 and was deemed “the greatest building of our time” by architect Philip Johnson. The other, an audacious 240-story tower in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, will be the first man-made structure to reach one kilometer in height – – an achievement comparable to a Neil Armstrong moment for structural engineers and architects. The engineering logic and structural systems development for these landmark projects are important chapters in the ongoing story of computer-based geometric and structural engineering analysis in the building industry. This presentation will compare the two projects, focusing on the key technical challenges and the analytical tools available to realize these groundbreaking designs.