Erik to Present at “Steel School”

Steel School: Practical Wisdom from 3 Industry Experts

3.0 SEAMASS-Certified PDHs

On October 9, SEAMass is hosting Steel School, an informative three-part seminar that will cover several aspects of designing with and working with steel.

Braced Frames, Moment Frames and Cantilevers
Presenter: Erik Nelson | Structures Workshop

• Lateral systems, axial thru forces, collector forces with amplification, and R factors
• Simple design advice on when axial forces are too high for beam web connections and when moment designation should be used
• Load paths on axial thru forces and moments on stiffener welds within the column web.
• Stiffeners and doubler plates within moment frames, a discussion
• Larges difference in connection review and design of cantilevers vs lateral moment connections– what to look out for

Walking Tour of Providence Hosted by Erik / SEARI

Tuesday May 21st, 2019 4:30-6:00 (Rain Date Th May 23rd)

Come take a walking tour with us and learn about the development of the street and buildings on Westminster to learn about historic and modern building systems in this city. Erik of Structures Workshop will introduce the evolution of Providence’s streetscape, from late 19th century 5+/- story buildings (ie first building with elevator) to early “skyscrapers” (the first steel building in Providence) to later 20th century modern and post-modern buildings. We will determine which buildings are cast iron, which are concrete encased steel, and which are terra cotta facades We will see Art Deco next to Art Nuevo and discuss ides for the future of the city (Superman Building / Arcade / Etc) and walk by current transformations happening at the Old Projo and Kresge Buildings, as well as changes to Laptham / 270-290 Westminster and the Providence Library and many others. We start just east of the river and work west, first we will witness the early 20th century Federalist style makeover of Victorian Providence prior to touring downtown along Westminster. We will also see the height of the water elevation of historic flood events to remind us of the importance of the hurricane barrier.

"Ethical Decisions in Engineering Practice" ASCE Conference in Orlando

I will be presenting a session at this year’s ASCE conference in Orlando within “Ethical Decisions in Engineering Practice: How Will You Choose?”

My contribution is called “Humans, Trees, Ethics” Come join us! This talk will argue that all the main ethical traditions (Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics, etc) should be strengthened by thinking beyond human interests but at the intersections of animals, plants, and the land.

Track: Business and Professional Practices  (11:00 AM – 12:30 PM) Thursday, April 25, 2019

Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology

Erik Nelson will lecture at the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology (fPet) at the University of Maryland, College Park at the end of May.  Nelson will present on the complicated relationship with forests, using American history as a guide, which is fraught with success and failure, describing the significant environmental movements and forest land pioneers, alongside ethical traditions. These different ethical views led to some controversy, pitting conservationists against preservationists, and helped usher in a new ethical framework, one not simply based on human interactions. For us to thrive, animals, plants and the land must thrive, as well.

He will provide examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic can help engineers make better decisions regarding the design and use of wood as well as better evaluate the wood harvesting practices in the lumber industry.

A Selective History of the Forests and Wood Construction in the US

I will be presenting at ASCE-RI Oct 19th "A Selective History of the Forests and Wood Construction in the US”. I am far from a history buff but have been reading 4 or 5 fascinating books about the nations forests from the 1600s until now and how our relationship with the trees has changed with time. I will describe wood production practices over the last couple centuries as well as the industrialization of the wood process, why and where thing developed (why do we not use our local wood for example), hardwood vs softwood use in New England, some Innovators and innovations in design and use, etc. Also at the end we will examine what we can do to continue to protect our most vulnerable woodlands and describe various species under particular threat into this next century. I highly recommend the following books that helped me prepare this talk: "Traditional Timber Framing" by Dell Upton within "Material Culture of the Wooden Age" by Brooke Hindle (Editor) "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben "American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation" by Eric Rutkow "A Splintered History of Wood" by Spike Carlsen "The Great American Forest" by Rutherford Platt "New England Forests Through Time : Insights from the Harvard Forest Dioramas" by David R. Foster "Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England" by Tom Wessels

Some Random Current Projects

New house in CT IMG_9789

Glass rails and steel plate stair stringers (United Steel) completed...


A 5 Story House in Harlem NYC (Steel Moment Frames) CD completed (Aardvarch)...



Pics of 4 Story Hanging Wood Sculpture (Ash) at UMass Lowell we visited recently and designed last year (Perkins+Will)...imag0496

Steel reinforcing of Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket is complete (EWA / Turgeun)....


Walnut Hill is 99% Complete!




























We were engineer of record for this dance studio project at the Walnut Hill School (Arch: DesignLab).   The building featured two large column free spaces (one a theater, the other a dance studio) with hyperbolic paraboloid roof structures made from steel queen post trusses. Steel provide by Diamond Iron and JK Scanlon the GC.

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