Sixty years ago, on the 1st of July 1959, a small room behind a garage in Norwalk, Connecticut became the home of John L. Altieri Consulting Engineers. Our milestone anniversary, which we are celebrating throughout 2019, honors the legacy of our founder, John Altieri, and Altieri Sebor Wieber LLC, as the firm was eventually to become.
For 60 years, we have designed engineering systems for scores of iconic buildings that enrich our cultural heritage, working in partnership with many of the most celebrated architects of our time. In the words of one of our retired partners, Altieri engineers are engineers with the souls of architects, an expression that embodies our guiding principle – an unwavering commitment to the creative visions of our clients.
We are very proud of our story and the role we continue to play in helping our clients shape the architectural landscape. We hope you will join us on our journey as we share memories, stories, and pay tribute to the people and projects that have shaped our success.
♦ Three full-time draftsmen and twenty projects on the books by year-end 1959, including the Derry Shoe Factory awarded by Fletcher Thompson, Altieri’s first client. ♦ A trip to New Haven with a page torn from the Yellow Pages, a chance meeting with Paul Rudolph, and the beginning of a fruitful relationship with Yale University that continues today. ♦ Exciting work with The Harvard Five – Eliot Noyes, John Johansen, Landis Gores, Marcel Breuer, and Philip Johnson. ♦ Community projects with local architects including Dan Antinozzi, Antinozzi Associates … the beginning of yet another six-decades-long relationship. ♦ 1964 – Our first museum commission – The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. ♦ First of four projects at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1964 through 2001).
1970 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates. Participation in the master plan launches four decades of work at The Met.
In early March of this year, we paid tribute to Kevin Roche. It was Altieri’s honor and privilege to have worked with the Pritzker Laureate, a true designer of the future.
THE 70s continued
1979 – We partnered with Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink for the first time. The team came back together in 2007 for further work on “the rink with the best design in the nation,” (The Wall Street Journal, 2011). Our work at Yale during the past 6 decades numbers over 30 projects including Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges, the historic Woolsey Hall, and Yale University Art Gallery.
Altieri’s considerable expertise in building engineering systems design for historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects had its beginnings in the early 1980s as public and private preservation projects were receiving greater attention with the introduction of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program. One of our earliest projects was the South Street Seaport Schermerhorn Row Block completed in 1984 with Jan Hird Pokorny Associates.
1986 – Altieri, in partnership with Richard Meier & Partners, was integral to the design, construction, and completion of The Getty Center. We were on the job from 1986 through to completion in 1997. The project represented an unprecedented undertaking: the construction of an almost 1,000,000 sf museum complex as a single project. It met and advanced state-of-the-art in museum technology in almost every area, including California’s rigorous Title 24 energy legislation. The Getty Center received LEED® Silver certification eight years after opening. Certification was based on Altieri’s designs from a period preceding the introduction and implementation of the now well-established LEED® process.
1989 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, is the world’s most comprehensive repository of materials related to the history of rock and roll. We were honored to work with celebrated architect and visionary, I.M. Pei, designing all building systems for this iconic museum. The project received numerous awards including the Engineering Excellence Award from the New York Association of Consulting Engineers.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions, renowned for its exhibitions, collections, and wide-ranging programs of research and education. Altieri has been on-site at the museum continuously since 1990. We have partnered with the Museum, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates, Kliment Halsband Architects, Ennead, and wHY Architecture – upgrading infrastructure, designing new systems – keeping the venerable institution at the top of its game.
1994 – A comprehensive restoration and conservation project was undertaken at Ca d’Zan, the opulent, Venetian Gothic palazzo-style home of circus master, John Ringling. The program was our first with Ann Beha Architects, resulting in a time-honored and rewarding design partnership that has included work at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Harvard Divinity School, Brown University, The Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, Penn State, and the Springfield Technical Community College.
Our portfolio of projects with renowned architects continued to grow in the first decade of the new millennium. Projects with Taniguchi (Museum of Modern Art), Frank Gehry (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Tadao Ando (The Clark Art Institute), and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (Barnes Foundation) led the roster which also included work on buildings originally designed by masters such as Louis Kahn (Yale University Art Gallery).
In 2000, Congress designated The National WWII Museum as America’s official museum dedicated to the American experience in World War II. When completed, the museum, designed by Voorsanger Mathes LLC, will consist of ten buildings including the US Freedom Pavilion, Hall of Democracy, Solomon Victory Theater, and Campaigns of Courage Pavilion. Altieri continues to be involved in every phase of this large-scale campus project.
Altieri’s exceptional museum expertise is matched by an extensive portfolio of higher education, theater and performing arts, libraries, landmark buildings, distinguished private residences, and public spaces developed over six decades. In 2016, Altieri began providing MEP services for the construction of The Obama Presidential Center, which will include a museum, forum building, library, and program, athletic, and activity center connected by a plaza and public green space on a 19.3-acre campus in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side.