NYC’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice Wins National Steel Building Award

July 1, 2015

(Chicago, IL) – The John Jay College of Criminal Justice expansion project at City University of New York in Manhattan has earned national recognition in the 2015 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a ceremony at the building on Thursday, July 9, at 10:30 a.m.

Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEASawards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country. The IDEASaward is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. and recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects.

In recognition of its particular accomplishments in structural engineering, the John Jay College expansion project has been selected to receive the IDEAS2 award’s Presidential Award of Excellence in Engineering, the only project in the competition to receive this honor.

The building’s project team members include:

  • Owner: City University of New York; Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
  • General Contractor: Turner Construction Co., New York
  • Architect: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, New York
  • Structural Engineer: Leslie E. Robertson Associates, New York
  • Steel Fabricator and Detailer: Owen Steel Co., Inc., Columbia, S.C. (AISC Member/Certified fabricator)
  • Steel Erector: Cornell and Co., Westville, N.J. (AISC Member/Advanced Certified steel erector)

Although the John Jay College expansion project was singled out for its engineering achievements, projects entered in the IDEAS2competition are judged on their use of structural steel from both an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on: creative solutions to project’s program requirements; applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS); technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and the use of innovative design and construction methods.

“A handsome urban tower on a tight city site, made remarkable by the cantilevered engineering of its floor plates and its ingenious accommodation of the rail infrastructure running under one corner of the project,” commented IDEAS2 awards judge, Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, as well as editorial director of Dodge Data Analytics’ GreenSource and SNAP.

The John Jay College expansion project is a new 625,000-sq.-ft, $400 million academic building in Midtown Manhattan. The City University of New York (CUNY) facility consists of a 15-story tower on 11th Avenue and a four-story podium with a garden roof that connects to the college's existing Haaren Hall on 10th Avenue.

However, there is a nearly two-story change in grade between 10th and 11th Avenues. To design for this condition, the perimeter columns—in an area that supported heavy loads from the building’s rooftop garden— were eliminated and an entrance on 59th Street was pulled back to allow room for the steps and ramps. Story-deep trusses were fit inside the walls of the fourth-floor classrooms to efficiently accomplish the 40-ft cantilever out to the tip of a V-shaped tapering canopy.

In response to a shallow Amtrak tunnel that cuts through a corner of the site, the building’s structural system is distinguished by a grid of rooftop trusses that hang the perimeter of eight floors below.

The IDEASaward dates back more than 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. And about this year’s Presidential Award of Excellence winner, Roger E. Ferch, P.E., president of AISC, said, “The entire John Jay College expansion project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is an academic building that serves its purpose extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

High-resolution images of the John Jay College expansion project are available upon request by contacting AISC’s Tasha Weiss at 312.670.5439 or For more information about the IDEAS2 awards and to view all of this year’s winners, please visit


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, 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, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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