American Council of Engineering Companies: UW-Madison Memorial Union cited in national engineering competition

Alan D. Crockett, ACEC, 202-682-4301;
Fred Groth, GRAEFF, 608-242-1540;

WASHINGTON, DC (March 7, 2018) – GRAEF of Madison, Wisc., has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 51st annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for its role in the renovation of Memorial Union at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The project project team redeveloped a two-block area along Lake Mendota, offering important campus upgrades with the 80-year old Memorial Union serving as the project’s anchor. Innovative foundation and structural systems included a new east connector that improves circulation from the theater west wing to the Union’s central core and enlargement of the Fredric March Play Circle. A new subgrade loading dock equipped with a turntable allows large tractor-trailers to serve the Union and adjacent buildings within the same confined space.

The Union’s outdated, inefficient mechanical systems were improved through addition of an equipment penthouse in the building’s roof truss space. Structurally complex reinforcing trusses allowed the design team to consolidate previously dispersed equipment at a single location, thereby adding much-needed new spaces throughout the interior.

The project is among 146 engineering achievements from throughout the nation and the world being recognized by ACEC as the year’s finest examples of engineering excellence, and eligible for additional top national honors. Judging for final awards—known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”– took place in February, conducted by a national 36-member panel of built environment leaders, along with experts from government, the media and academia. Award criteria focuses on uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, and generating excitement for the engineering profession.

Recognition of all award winners including top commendations—20 Honor Awards, 16 Grand Awards and the prestigious “Grand Conceptor Award” for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement—will take place at the annual EEA Dinner and Gala, a black-tie event to be held Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.