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How engineer Dave Eckmann transforms creative visions into innovative solutions.

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Bridging architecture and engineering

Having both a deep engineering know-how and understanding of the architect’s role gives Eckmann a special approach to collaboration. His problem-solving skills are firmly rooted in his personal experience of moving between the two fields.

“My dad was a civil engineer,” he says, “but he focused on water treatment plants, so that's what I thought engineering was.” When he was a kid, Eckmann was obsessed with Legos, Erector Sets, and building backyard forts. He did not want to be an engineer—he wanted to be an architect.

“So, I leaned more toward architecture, and that’s what I went to college to study.”

Eckmann looks over plans in MKA’s Chicago office. “The more resources we can tap into to get answers, the better off we are as designers.”

But as he completed the coursework, he gravitated toward structures classes and realized structural engineering was what he wanted to do. He graduated from the University of Illinois with Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees, specializing in structural engineering.

While architects focus on creation, says Eckmann, engineers focus on innovation and problem-solving.

“I am inspired and influenced by architects,” he says. “I find that architects push me and challenge me in ways that I wouldn’t do myself. That’s part of the fun—rising to that challenge and meeting that need by coming up with structural solutions that achieve the creative objective within the owner’s budget.”

When we put all those bright minds together, we can do some amazing things.
Dave Eckmann
Located where the North and South branches of the Chicago River meet, River Point was hailed by the Chicago Tribune for the "engineering acrobatics" by MKA.

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