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  • Queens Central Library, Children’s Library Discovery Center. Photo credit: Michael Moran/OTTO.

Some of our longtime collaborators

1100 Architect | A new generation

Our work with 1100 Architect represents one of the longest and most fruitful collaborations with a new generation of architects that pushed design boundaries with creative clients during the early 1990s. The relationship represents one of the first seminal collaborations that occurred almost exclusively with the second generation of our leadership.

Although much of this early work for (mostly) private clients was of a smaller scale – custom stairs, railings, or mullions within townhouse renovations – attention to detail gave us the experience and confidence to work on larger-scale and equally innovative projects as the decade came to a close. We have since worked with this firm on complex renovation and addition projects including the Children’s Library Discovery Center for Queens Central Library. We are proud to continue to foster relationships with growing and energetic firms in the vein of the joyous journey we have taken with 1100 Architect.


Beyer Blinder Belle and Ennead | 50+ years, 200+ collaborations

Over a decades-long history, we have developed a rich portfolio of projects in the civic realm and on existing buildings. The vision for engaging in this kind of work was brought into focus by Bob’s early collaborations with both Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) and James Stewart Polshek Architect (now Ennead), giving the firm an important entry point into those markets.

Given the opportunity, Bob showed passion, creativity, and rigor that differentiated the firm, finding kindred spirits in the partners of these two firms. Although Bob developed similar relationships with other firms at the time, it is the exhaustive list of work with BBB and Ennead that best trace the early trajectory of Silman and the foundations of our expertise in existing buildings.


Robert A.M. Stern Architects | A tale of two Bobs

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was quite rare to hire a structural engineer to design a wood-framed house. Builders almost always had the tools they needed – literally and figuratively – to build a stable and secure structure. Not satisfied with this status quo, Robert A.M. Stern sought to re-invigorate the classical house. As Stern reconsidered all aspects of the private home, he needed an engineer who was similarly willing to challenge conventions while bringing builders into the fold. He found the perfect partner in Bob Silman.

Their collaborations quickly established Silman as one of the few engineering firms who would go beyond published charts and tables to establish new norms in wood design and detailing. As the practice expanded and designs evolved, Bob Silman’s earned a reputation for an ability to elegantly design wood frames consistent with a specific aesthetic intent.

The joy that Bob found in manipulating a simple set of building materials into bespoke architecture has now passed through three generations of Silman leadership. To this day, we continue to design hundreds of residential projects a year, many of them still with RAMSA, satisfying those who seek to ensure that the conventional never becomes static.


Maya Lin Studio | From sketch to structure

We have worked with with Maya Lin Studio on sculpture and architectural projects for over twenty years. To develop a coherent structural approach regardless of medium, we start by seeking a deep understanding of Maya’s intent and aspirations, often leveraging multiple models of various scales. Over the years, the nature of this approach has led to the development of modeling and representational tools that have allowed us to respond to the project prompts in a manner consistent with the artistic vision.

From small sculptural elements to significant buildings, our ability to synthesize has been elevated by this ongoing collaboration. These tools have been honed over the years and incorporated into our work with numerous architects who challenge us to conjure an inspirational structural approach based on a simple image or sketch.

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