ASCE has honored William F. Baker Jr., P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE, with the 2020 Ernest E. Howard Award for enormous contributions to the civil engineering profession, particularly his creation of some of the world’s most important structures including the tallest in the world.
Baker is a Structural Engineering Partner for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he strives to extend the profession of structural engineering through design, research, teaching and professional activities. A particular focus of his work is the design and engineering of supertall towers. He led the development of the “buttressed core” structural system for the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest man-made structure. In addition to his work on supertall buildings, his expertise also extends to long-span roof structures, such as the Korean Air Lines Operations Hangar and the Virginia Beach Convention Center, as well as noteworthy structures such as Broadgate Exchange House and the GM Renaissance Center-North Lobby.
He has also collaborated with numerous artists, including Jamie Carpenter (Raspberry Island–Schubert Club Band Shell), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Gravity is a Force to Be Reckoned With), James Turrell (Roden Crater), and Jaume Plensa (World Voices). In addition to many other honors, Baker was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014.
The Ernest E. Howard Award is given to a member of the Society who has made a definite contribution to the advancement of structural engineering through research, planning, design or construction.