Melineh is a licensed California Structural Engineer with experience in structural analysis, design and construction administration for existing and new structures. She has worked on numerous projects throughout Los Angeles county among them the Red Bull Headquarters, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Sony Pictures Akio Morita Building and the Ford Theatres.
What does Structural Engineering mean to you?
I love Structural Engineering because of its ability to positively impact the community. Structural engineers become an instrumental part in revitalizing neighborhoods by bringing creative architectural visions to fruition and making them safe and stable.
Latest Project, Favorite Project, and Biggest Challenge
I have been involved with the Ford Theatres project for the past couple of years. The venue is currently being upgraded to enhance on-site programs and spaces. The project, which includes the historic renovation of the 1920s amphitheater and a new four-story structure, was broken down into three Off-Season Phases. Levin & Associates Architects is leading the design team, Pankow is the contractor, and Structural Focus is providing full structural engineering services.
Phase one was finalized in 2012, we are currently working on Phases two and three. As part of Phase two, we reconstructed the stage at the bottom of the hill, added new tiered landscape retaining walls behind the stage to stabilize the hill and new lighting towers on either side of the stage. We also installed a new proscenium truss over the stage. While Phase two is almost complete, we are in construction for Phase three. Phase three includes a new structural steel framed sound wall at the back of the amphitheater and a new four-story building constructed into the hill on the north side with an outdoor public terrace, offices, and a concession. This unique four-story structure was challenging because we had to account for the soil pressure from the hill along with the seismic loads in the overall design of the structure and no documentation of the existing structure was available.
The Ford Theatres is one of my favorite projects to date because I have taken on more responsibilities as a Project Engineer. The biggest challenge on this project has been the construction schedule, but it is very rewarding as the team successfully works through every challenge. The theatres opened for the Spring 2016 season on July 8th as the construction of Phase three is in progress.
I love working on historic projects. Historic structures are very valuable because they represent the achievements of our past generations. I enjoy working through the challenges presented by the limited modifications permitted on the preservation and restoration of historic structures. It’s really exciting to be part of a design team that works tirelessly for this common goal.
What’s your favorite part about working at Structural Focus?
The firm really cares about the team and the employees’ well-being. I receive guidance and support through every new step in my career and I get to work on unique projects. Not too many structural engineers can say they have worked on a windmill structure!
The Future of Structural Engineering
The future of Structural Engineering will involve more detailed analysis, I think time history analysis and performance-based design will become the norm. Due to the increasing amount of information available via the internet, building owners have become more knowledgeable; therefore they are more concerned about the way their buildings will perform during an earthquake, even when the building is designed per code. In the future, owners will dictate how much structural damage they are willing to accept in the event of an earthquake in lieu of just asking for a code compliant building. This will require engineers to explore performance-based analysis and design.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I enjoy cooking. Designing a building to me is somewhat similar to cooking a great meal. The base ingredients are crucial to cooking good tasting food; similarly, selecting the proper structural systems and foundations are important for structural stability. The spices and herbs bring out the amazing flavors of your dish, as the architectural finishes do to the building structure.