Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Leslie E. Robertson

Leslie E. Robertson BSCE, P.E., S.E., N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Leslie E. Robertson received his B.S. (1952) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He also received honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees from Lehigh University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Notre Dame.  Since 1958, he was a partner in Leslie E. Robertson Associates.  He was a Registered Civil and Structural Engineer in California, a Licensed Professional Engineer in New York, a Chartered Structural Engineer in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a First Class Architect and Structural Engineer in Japan. Mr. Robertson passed away in February 2021 at the age of 92.

In his career, Mr. Robertson was responsible for the structural design of hundreds of structures around the world, including the World Trade Center (New York), U. S. Steel Headquarters (Pittsburgh), Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong), Puerta de Europa (Madrid, Spain), Miho Museum Bridge (Shiga-raki, Japan), and Shanghai World Financial Center (Shanghai, China). He also directed the structural design for the Lotte Jamsil Super Tower (Seoul, Korea) and the KL 100 Tower (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). His contributions to the field of structural engineering include: the creation of mechanical damping units to reduce wind-induced swaying motion; the first use of prefabricated multiple-column and spandrel-wall panels to resist the lateral force from hurricane winds; the first use of a space-frame mega-structure and outrigger or hat system for a high-rise building; the creation of the shaft-wall partition system now almost universally used for fire-resistant partitions in high-rise building; and the first skyscraper with a composite mega-structure space frame to resist all loads imposed by typhoon winds and the weight of the building.

Mr. Robertson was a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and he was a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  He was also the Vice President of the Architectural League of N.Y. (emeritus); Advisory Board Member of the Center of Sustainability, Accountability, and Eco-Affordability for Large Structures; and Chairman of the Wind Engineering Research Council. His honors include the IABSE International Award of Merit in Structural Engineering, the IStructE Gold Medal (U. K.), the Gengo Matsui Prize (Japan), ASCE’s Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award and Raymond C. Reese Research Prize, AISC’s J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award, recognition as ENR’s “Man of the Year”, the first recipient of the NBM Henry C. Turner Prize, and the TBUH Fazlur Rahman Khan Medal. He and his wife, SawTeen See, sponsored two student scholarships, one at the University of California, Berkeley and the other at Cornell University.