The Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute (CFSEI) presented three first-place Design Excellence awards and one first-place Innovative Detail award during the 2018 CFSEI Expo held May 15-16 at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Hotel in San Diego. Design Excellence awards were also presented for second-place and third-place winners.

CFSEI Design Excellence Awards recognize small and large projects that exemplify distinction in the structural design of new or renovated structures utilizing cold-formed steel products. This year, three first-place awards were given to recognize municipal, commercial and residential projects. The 2018 CFSEI Design Excellence Award winners were: 1) Municipal – Frameworks Engineering for Trinidad Baptist Church in Capitol Heights, Maryland; 2) Commercial – Matsen Ford Design Associates, Inc. for the 1600 West Loop South Ballroom Ceiling in Houston, Texas; and 3) Residential – ClarkDietrich Engineering Services LLC for AIT Barracks Complex Phase I in Monterey, California.

The Innovative Detail Award recognizes a cold-formed steel detail that exemplifies creativity or ingenuity to solve a design challenge. The 2018 CFSEI Innovative Detail Award was presented to ZFA Structural Engineers for the Swooping Eyebrow Detail on the Graton Rancheria Resort Hotel in Rohnert Park, California.

“We are always amazed and inspired by these award-winning projects, which demonstrate the versatility of cold-formed steel design in solving complex design issues,” said Maribeth Rizzuto, LEED AP BD+C, managing director of the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute. “If you’re an architect, contractor or owner who is looking for new ideas or a different approach to your projects, we think you’ll be challenged by these award-winning structures to consider cold-formed steel framing in your designs. We appreciate the many entries that were submitted for this design competition.”

Video interviews with the award winners about their projects and case studies are being posted on the CFSEI website at

About the Projects

First-Place Design Excellence Award/Municipal Project – Frameworks Engineering – Trinidad Baptist Church – Capitol Heights, Md.

This project was a renovation of an existing building and had a unique corner architectural feature to mimic a triangle of the Trinity with a Christian cross centered within the feature. The project highlights all aspects of modern cold-formed steel framing engineering, including prefabrication, 3-D framing analysis, Building Information Modeling (BIM) drawing and detailing, and coordination with the design team to meet the design intent. Many of these elements were interdependent, and the results were iterated in order to meet all of the design needs.

First-Place Design Excellence Award/Commercial Project – Matsen Ford Design Associates Inc. – 1600 West Loop South Ballroom Ceiling – Houston

The 1600 West Loop Building is a 38-story, 700,000-square-foot luxury hotel housing 250 rooms and suites. It sits as a centerpiece within a 10-acre mixed-use development that includes restaurants, retail, and office space. The main framing of the project was at The Grand Ballroom, a 16,000-square-foot, two-story event space with 12 vaulted Glassfiber Reinforced Gypsum (GRG) ceilings with chandeliers. The main structure of the Grand Ballroom consists of structural steel beams, with cold-formed steel framing out of the ornate, vaulted ceiling.

First-Place Design Excellence Award/Residential Project – ClarkDietrich Engineering Services LLC – AIT Barracks Complex Phase I – Monterey, Calif.

The AIT Barracks facility is a $56 million, 110,000-square-foot structure used to house up to 320 Defense Language Institute students. The facility was commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to serve as a modernized, private-sector residence and to replace outdated facilities at Presidio of Monterey. In addition to modern amenities, the structure also boasts many sustainability features such as solar panels, rainwater collectors and highly efficient HVAC systems. The structure is unique with its numerous lateral and vertical design considerations in addition to a massive coordination effort between trades through BIM and panelization.

First-Place Innovative Detail Award – ZFA Structural Engineers – Swooping Eyebrow Detail on the Graton Rancheria Resort Hotel – Rohnert Park, Calif.

The Graton Rancheria Resort is a new full-service, 200-room, six-story hotel, event center, and casino located north of San Francisco in Rohnert Park, Sonoma County, California. One of the hotel’s main visual characteristics is the tower’s exterior architecture featuring a swooping eyebrow expanding out past the exterior wall line at the roof elevation. The structural design and detailing of this element was crucial to maintaining the focal point of the building and presented numerous challenges.

CFSEI Design Excellence Awards were also presented to:

  • Second-Place Design Excellence Award – CEMCO – Park Lane Ala Moana – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Second-Place Design Excellence Award – The Leffler Group – Bay Area Refinery Wharf Central Control Building – Martinez, Calif.
  • Second-Place Design Excellence Award – Excel Engineering – Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Neb.
  • Third-Place Design Excellence Award – Radius Track Corporation – Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC