For more than thirty years, Steve Tipping has advanced the science and art of structural engineering, pioneering creative yet pragmatic design solutions for a broad range of projects. His accomplishments in seismic retrofit design have been especially crucial to the Bay Area. At the same time, his emphasis on constructability has culminated in an expertise in cost- and resource-efficient solutions. Significantly, his penchant for questioning assumptions and conceiving project-specific solutions has led his firm to win 35 national, regional, and local awards for excellence in structural engineering.
Steve pioneered the use of vertical post-tensioning to deliver self-centering capability to concrete walls; Tipping Structural Engineers has applied progressive iterations of this lateral system to the design of bold projects such as the SF Public Utilities Commission headquarters, the Rene Cazenave Apartments, and UC Berkeley’s Campbell Hall. Most recently, Steve applied a novel retrofit system for 680 Folsom in San Francisco; its design is based on the effects of the central spine (shinbashira) pivoting in a stone well found in centuries’ old Japanese pagodas.
In early 2013, Steve was included for the second time in Engineering News Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers for his post-tensioned concrete-core shear-wall innovation, as it contributed to the great success of the SFPUC headquarters. In 2006 Steve was selected from among the Top 25 Newsmakers to receive ENR’s highest honor, the Award of Excellence, for his invention of a simple, corrugated-metal shear-wall assembly that has great potential for lowering construction costs and improving the seismic performance of multiunit housing projects. This research project also earned Steve an Excellence in Structural Engineering Award in 2009 from SEAONC.
A graduate of Clemson University, Steve began his engineering career as first lieutenant with the US Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and soon thereafter completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. After working for several Bay Area engineering firms, he founded Steve Tipping and Associates in 1983. Steve served as a board member and president (2002–2003) of SEAONC and was inducted as a fellow of the organization in 2004.