Guy Nordenson

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Guy Nordenson, PE
Professor, Structural Engineering and Architecture
Faculty Associate: Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Princeton Environmental Institute; University Center for Human Values
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S., University of California, Berkeley
Loeb Fellow, Harvard University
Guy Nordenson and Associates, New York

Office: Architecture Building S-113
Email: gjpn at
Phone: 609-258-9569

Guy Nordenson is a structural engineer and professor of architecture and structural engineering at Princeton University. He studied at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley and began his career as a draftsman in the joint Long Island City studio of R Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi in 1976. From 1978 he has practiced structural engineering in San Francisco and New York. In 1987 he established the New York office of Ove Arup & Partners and was a director until 1997 when he began his independent practice.

In 1994 he co-founded the Structural Engineers Association of New York. With Terence Riley he was co-curator of the “Tall Buildings” exhibition held at MoMA QNS in 2004. His research project “On the Water | Palisade Bay” won the 2007 American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Research Prize, was published in 2010 by Hatje Cantz, and served as the inspiration for the 2010 MoMA workshop and exhibition “Rising Currents”. His book Seven Structural Engineers - The Felix Candela Lectures in Structural Engineering was published in 2008 by MoMA and a collection of essays Patterns and Structure in 2010 by Lars Müller Publishers. In 2009 Nordenson was the 7th structural engineer awarded the AIA’s Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award, and the first practicing structural engineer ever elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the NYC Panel on Climate Change and was Commissioner and Secretary of the New York City Public Design Commission from 2006 to 2015, both mayoral appointments.

Nordenson was the structural engineer for the Museum of Modern Art expansion in New York, the Jubilee Church in Rome, the Simmons Residence Hall at MIT in Massachusetts, the Santa Fe Opera House, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and over 100 other projects. Recent and current projects include the expansion of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth TX, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC and in Houston TX both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center.

From the late 1970’s Nordenson was active in earthquake engineering research and code development, technology transfer, and long-range planning for FEMA and the USGS. He initiated and led the development of the New York City Seismic Code from 1984 to its enactment into Local Law 17/95 in 1995. Since 2007 he has been engaged in climate adaptation and flood hazards mitigation research and has been active in improving the resilience of New York City as a member of numerous committees and task forces including the NYS 2100 Commission appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and as director of the newly formed Jamaica Bay–Rockaway Parks Conservancy. In 2013 his research team at Princeton was awarded a major grant by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop “Structures of Coastal Resilience” in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers and teams from Harvard, City College of NY and University of Pennsylvania. The results of this research have been published at and were incorporated in the 2015 North Atlantic Comprehensive Study of the USACE.

Recent Courses
ARC 510: Strucutral Analysis for Architecture (Fall 2015)
ARC 502: Architecture Design Studio (Spring 2015)
ARC 518: Construction and Interpretation (Spring 2015)