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Biographical Information

Name: Fred N. Severud
Born in 1899 in , Vestland, Norway, Europe
Deceased in 1990 in , Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA, North America
Place(s) of activity:

Structures and Projects

Participation in the following structures & large-scale projects:


Biography from Wikipedia

Fred Severud (June 8, 1899 - June 11, 1990) was a Norwegian born, American structural engineer. His projects included the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Seagram Building and Madison Square Garden..


Fred N. Severud was born Fridtjov Nikolai Sæverud in Bergen, Norway. He was the son of Herman Sæverud (1861–1931) and Cecilie Tvedt (1869–1956). His father was a businessman and owner of a margarine factory in Bergen. His parents encouraged their children to attend college. Severud had two brothers and nine sisters. One brother, Harald Sæverud, gained recognition as a modern classical composer. Another brother, Bjarne Sæverud (1892-1978), would be active within the Norwegian Resistance during the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany during World War II and serve as a representative in the Norwegian Parliament from Bergen (1945 - 1949) Severud attended the Bergen Cathedral School and later studied at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. In 1923, Severud emigrated to the United States, entering through Ellis Island. Shortly thereafter, Severud started work for an engineering company, where he was rapidly promoted.


Severud utilized the experience he gained in his early years of designing successful housing projects. In 1928 he founded an engineering consultancy in Manhattan called Severud-Elstad-Krueger Associates, renamed twenty years later as Severud-Perrone-Sturm-Bandel, and now known as Severud Associates. He also lectured and was the author of several books and articles on architectural and engineering subjects.

Along with Joseph H. Abel (1905-1985), he wrote one of the industry’s first comprehensive books, Apartment Houses (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1947) on how to best design, build and operate apartment ventures. A few years later, as one of the few structural engineers in the world to have analyzed the forces from and the effects of atomic bombs, together with Anthony F. Merrill he wrote a textbook on protection from nuclear explosions called The Bomb, Survival and You (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1954).

Frei Otto, the German architect and engineer known for membrane and tensile structures such as the Olympic Stadium in Munich, visited his office in 1951 during the construction of the Raleigh Livestock Aren. Edmund (Ted) Happold founder of Buro Happold, worked for several years in his office.

Selected projects

  • Dorton Arena, Raleigh, N.C. (1953) (architect Matthew Nowicki)
  • Place Ville Marie, Montreal (1962) (architect I M Pei)
  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (House of the Cultures of the World) (1957) (architect Hugh Stubbins)
  • David S. Ingalls Hockey Rink at Yale University (1959) (architect Eero Saarinen)
  • Toronto City Hall (opened 1965) (architect Viljo Revell)
  • St Louis Gateway Arch, (completed 1965) (architect Eero Saarinen)

Selected works

  • The Bomb, Survival, and You: Protection for people, buildings, equipment with Anthony F. Merrill (1954)
  • Apartment Houses: Progressive Architecture Library with Joseph H. Abel (1947)


A fellow in the ASCE, Severud was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (1968). Severud received numerous personal engineering awards for being an industry pacesetter, among them the Ernest Howard Award (1964) and the Franklin P. Brown Medal (1952). The American Institute of Architects presented him with its prestigious Honorary Associate Member award for his lifetime of contributions to structural design.

Personal life

On Sept. 11, 1923 he married Signe Hansen, whom he had known at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. They would have four children–Fred, Jr., Inger, Laila and Sonja. Severud left engineering behind on his retirement in 1973, just before his 74th birthday. He died at his home in Miami, Florida at the age of 91 from Alzheimer's disease.

Text imported from Wikipedia article "Fred Severud" and modified on 22 July 2019 under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.


  1. Severud, Fred N. (1961): Problems In Post-Tensioning Vierendeel Wall Girders. In: PCI Journal, v. 6, n. 1 (March 1961), pp. 29-40.


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