January Meeting

  • 25 Jan 2018
  • 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Maggiano's Little Italy - Domain
  • 0

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New Austin Central Library (Seaholm)

Presented By: Luke Nelson, Datum Engineers


The much-anticipated Austin New Central Library opened in October, 2017, to rave reviews and huge crowds.  Crowds of people are still flocking to the library two months later, just like the grackles celebrated in the giant public art piece inside. 

The Library is a wonder of engineering, architectural, and construction achievement, not to mention civic commitment.  Countless dramatic, breathtaking, unique spaces and features are packed into its 270,000 square feet on 6 levels, plus 2 underground parking levels, situated on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake along Austin’s beloved hike & bike trail at the south edge of downtown. 

The structural design uses cast-in-place concrete framing not only as an efficient way to support the heavy loads required for a library, but also as a beautiful exposed element in the jaw-dropping 6-story central atrium crossed by playful, zigzagging stairs and bridges.   

Structural engineering is on display throughout the building in both obvious and subtle ways: 

​​· steel and glass skybridges 

· steel and wood-framed reading porches  

· zig-zagging, fanciful steel stairs 

· exposed steel beam roof structure 

· folded “cowboy hat” atrium roof and skylight 

· giant mat foundation (unique in Austin) 


Nelson joined Datum in 2003 as a graduate engineer. Since then, he has worked on a wide variety of structures ranging from high-end residences to $100M projects. He was the main design engineer for the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, and since obtaining his license, he has served as the lead project engineer/project manager on projects such as UT Palestine Classroom facility, and the new Dripping Springs High School.

​Having served as president of the SEAoT Austin Chapter in 2009, Luke is happy to return to present this project.

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