Firm Profile

Creating, Renewing, Preserving, Sustaining…

This has been the vision of Silman since its beginning as a one-person New York based practice in 1966. Since then, Silman has grown to a staff of more than 160 among its three offices in New York, Washington DC, and Boston, of whom over 50 have professional registrations and more than 20 are LEED Accredited Professionals or Green Associates. To provide the highest quality structural engineering services possible, the principals have fostered an approach centered on constant collaboration among owners, architects, and other consultants. Our engineers are trained to be effective listeners, creative problem solvers, and knowledgeable about all facets of the construction process. After participating in more than 21,000 projects, Silman has earned recognition as one of the leading firms in the country for its innovative spirit in the design of new architectural works and the sensitive modification of existing structures.

History of Silman

In the late ’60s, our staff began to increase, and in 1970 Robert Silman formed the partnership Zoldos/Silman, Consulting Engineers. This lasted until 1974, when the present entity, Robert Silman Associates, PC was founded. Our other principals, Joseph Tortorella, Nat Oppenheimer, Edmund P. Meade, and Kirk Mettam, joined the firm in 1979, 1988, 1989, and 1998 respectively. When Silman moved to its Greenwich Village location 1984, there were just 25 people in the organization. Growth has been steady, one-by-one, with no dramatic surges and no retractions.

In the beginning, the firm consulted on many residential rehabilitations of tenement buildings in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. This extensive work on older structures provided a natural lead into Silman’s work on historic structures, beginning with Carnegie Hall in the early 1970s. Landmark legislation and guidelines were in their infancy then and members of the staff learned the necessary principles through on-the-job experience. Today, work on historic structures accounts for approximately 20% of the practice’s efforts.

Silman expanded its geographical horizons by opening a Washington, DC office in 1998 under the leadership of principal Kirk Mettam, and a Boston office in 2007, led by associate Mike Auren. This enables the firm to better service projects in the National Capital Region, the Mid Atlantic states, and New England. Silman’s New York office moved in 2014 to its current location in Lower Manhattan’s financial district overlooking the East River.

New construction accounts for 50% of our entire workload. We do more than Fallingwater! We do institutional work – primary, secondary schools, university buildings, and religious facilities of all kinds. We do governmental and corporate buildings, such as firehouses, police stations, courthouses and libraries. We do museums, galleries, theaters, performing arts centers, concert halls. We do hospitals and laboratories. We also have extensive experience with multi-family housing and single-family private residences.

Silman promotes sustainable and environmentally responsible design and has consulted using sustainable design criteria for “green” buildings on scores of projects. In addition, the firm’s long experience in the adaptive reuse of buildings allows a rapid analysis of the suitability of an existing structure and the possible sustainable conclusion of “no-build” when investigating new construction. The firm pioneered the use of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques for existing and historic buildings, and has been at the forefront of sustainable design strategies. We pride ourselves on being a leader in the industry with regard to emerging technologies and concepts.