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COWI Wins Big at the ACEC New York Excellence Award


Two COWI North America projects have won in different categories at the 2017 ACEC New York Engineering Excellence Awards.*

COWI was bestowed with a Diamond award for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub dubbed "The Oculus" and a Platinum award for its work on the Citywide Waterfront Mapping project.

The Oculus

The iconic structure, designed by legendary engineer/architect, Santiago Calatrava, and the Downtown Design Partnership, is the entrance to the new multi-billion dollar transit station at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York. It serves over 200,000 members of the travelling public each day. Typical of Calatrava structures, it is striking in its architecture, but was extremely complicated to construct.

Skanska USA approached B&T, and collectively they determined that a sequential erection scheme was the best way to attain the geometric control needed for the structure. This innovative application – more commonly used in bridge erection rather than building construction – meant that the project did not require extensive falsework. This saved time and money. Furthermore, monitoring the geometry of the structure as construction progressed (as sequential construction allowed) was crucial due to the intricacy of the design.

Darryl Matson, President of Buckland & Taylor International Inc. says, "The Transportation Hub is both a literal and figurative symbol for the resiliency of the people of New York and the rebuilding of a very important public area. There is great satisfaction that comes with winning this award for the Oculus Project."


Waterfront Mapping

On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey. The impact to New York Harbor was devastating.  Within the five boroughs, 43 lives were lost and 17% of the City's land mass was inundated with floodwater.  In response to this, the city embarked on an ambitious program called the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency.

Key to improving resiliency and coastal governance was the completion of a comprehensive database that identified the type and general condition of every marine structure along the entire waterfront of New York City in 2015. The geodatabase, called the Waterfront Facilities Maintenance Mapping System (WFMMS), includes information on structure types, conditions, and photographs.

It is the first time in history that such a shoreline database has been developed – no other City has a map/database of its shoreline structures, with this level of detail and 360-degree imagery from the water to the shoreline.

Perhaps even more impressive are the lasting benefits of this database. The City of New York now has a real time management tool that gives them an understanding of their structures. Inspections and permitting can happen more rapidly and at less cost, and it enables the city to become more resilient to future storms and flooding. The WFMMS increases the safety of New York City's citizens and therefore increases its resiliency to future natural hazards.

John Chapman, President of Ocean and Coastal Engineering PC states, "The Waterfront Mapping project is a cornerstone to helping New York City be better prepared for future storms and the destruction that accompanies them. This award validates our firm's commitment to making New York and the surrounding area more resilient to future events like this."


"We are very proud that our affiliates have won these awards," states COWI North America President Steve Hunt. "Both these projects represent innovative solutions to very complex engineering issues. COWI and its affiliates will continue to push boundaries and deliver forward-thinking projects that contribute to the creation and operation of the world's most challenging bridge, tunnel and marine infrastructure."


*These were won through affiliates Buckland & Taylor International Inc. (B&T) and Ocean and Coastal Engineering PC (OCC) which are the legal operating entities in New York State.

ACEC New York

An ACEC New York hallmark for 50 years, the Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA)— the Academy Awards of the consulting engineering industry — is held annually in the spring to honor member firms for design achievements of superior skill and ingenuity.

Each year, over 60 firms submit projects that are judged on a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation and value to society. In addition to celebrating among peers, the EEA helps to publicize the many significant contributions consulting engineers make to the built environment throughout the world.

LAST UPDATED: 21.06.2017