Washington, D.C. — AKRF of New York City earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 52nd annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for designing the stormwater detention system serving American Copper Towers in Manhattan.

Situated along the East River, the 700-unit residential development required special infrastructure planning considerations given its location along a major waterway and within the floodplain. Among them was balancing stormwater discharges following heavy rain events without overwhelming an aging sewer system already operating at capacity. Otherwise, excess flows could spill contaminants into the river. However, a constrained site left little room for a conventional detention facility.

ARKF’s solution called for burying the detention system between an at-grade public plaza and an underground garage. Within the three-foot high space, 2,500 feet of 15-inch diameter plastic pipe are looped in a complex web that complements the plaza’s landscaping plan. To improve proper drainage, the structural slab of the garage roof was topped with a thin, pitched concrete slab that allows excess water to fall away from the structure. The innovative strategy provides a valuable benchmark for integrating critical environmental infrastructure in dense urban environments.

The project is among 196 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 the awards program—known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”– took place in February, conducted by a national 30-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, May 7, 2019, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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