Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Henry Degenkolb

Henry J. Degenkolb B.S., N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Henry Degenkolb received his B.S. (1936) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.  After graduation, he began his technical career at the San Francisco Bay Exposition Company where he helped design buildings for the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940. In 1946, he joined a structural engineering firm that would subsequently become Gould and Degenkolb, and in 1961, H. J. Degenkolb Associates, Engineers. Today, his namesake firm is known as Degenkolb Engineers, a leading structural engineering company headquartered in San Francisco. Mr. Degenkolb died on December 9th, 1989 at the age of 76.

As a structural design engineer, Mr. Degenkolb designed many noteworthy structures, including some of the most distinctive buildings of his time. These include: the Parkmerced Towers; Bank of California Building; International Building; Stanford Court Hotel; Fireman’s Fund Home Office Building; and Long Hospital of the University of California, all in San Francisco. He also designed numerous structures for Bank of America, Pacific Telephone, and San Francisco International Airport.

Mr. Degenkolb was an extremely active contributor to the advancement of the profession. He served as a member of the: California Seismic Safety Commission; San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission; Engineering Criteria Review Board; California Building Standards Commission; Building Seismic Safety Council; and California Legislator's Committee on Seismic Safety. He was a consultant to the California Public Utilities Commission as well as to the U.S. Office of Science and Technology. He also served on the Advisory Panel for Earthquake Studies of the U.S. Geological Survey. In the July 1, 1976 issue of Engineering News Record, Mr. Degenkolb was credited with ". .. having more to do with the development of San Francisco's [building] code than any other individual in the past twenty years." He was the author or co-author of more than 25 technical papers and publications.

Among his many awards and honors, Mr. Degenkolb was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1977). He was a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, Honorary Member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (serving as President from 1974 to 1978), Honorary Member of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (serving as President in 1957), Member of the Structural Engineers Association of California (serving as President in 1958), Honorary Member of ASCE, and recipient of the ASCE Moisseiff Award (1953) and Ernest E. Howard Award (1968).

Mr. Degenkolb long had a close association with the CEE Department at Berkeley. He was a Lecturer in the College of Engineering at Berkeley from 1946 to 1961 and he collaborated with Prof. Egor Popov in conceptual studies that subsequently led to the development by Prof. Popov of eccentrically-braced frame technology for earthquake resistant design of structures.