Michael Baker International Earns “Best of the Best” Award for Tustin Hangar Solution

April 28, 2016

Latest Accolade for Successful Effort to Restore Structural Integrity of World’s Largest Wood Frame Structure

Experts from Michael Baker International engineered an innovative repair to a former military hangar that once served as the home for a World War II-era blimp, and the company’s solution continues to win industry-wide accolades.


Tustin-2.jpgEarlier this month, Michael Baker team members traveled to New York City to accept Engineering News-Record’s “Best of the Best Projects” award for its emergency shoring solution for Hangar 1 at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, Calif. This comes after Michael Baker won the “Best Project” award from ENR California in December, which automatically entered the project into the national competition. A separate panel of judges reviewed the national submissions.

Following a partial roof collapse at Tustin Hangar 1 several years ago, part of the structure fell to the floor and left a sizable hole. Michael Baker experts employed 3D modeling techniques and engineered a plan to stabilize the building from the outside with steel crane towers and cable rigging.

“Michael Baker International looked well beyond the traditional approaches to solving this unique challenge with the Tustin hangar, and in doing so, we helped to preserve a piece of history,” said Rick Rubin, regional director of Michael Baker International’s west region.

“Innovation is at the heart of our full continuum of solutions at Michael Baker, and our work on this project demonstrates our ability to look beyond traditional approaches,” added Kurt Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker. “Based on the nature of the challenge, stabilizing the roof from inside the structure was not an option. The team attacked the problem from the outside in, and their solution deserves the recognition it continues to receive.”


Originally constructed in 1943, Hangar 1 housed blimps that were used for Pacific Coast reconnaissance during World War II. The National Register of Historic Places included the hangar on its list in 1975. In 1994, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) named the site a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark with the distinction of being the “Largest Wood Frame Structure in the World.”

Tustin-Award.jpgIn addition to winning both the ENR national and regional accolades, the project also received recognition from the ASCE Orange County as the historical renovation project of the year; ASCE Los Angeles as the small project of the year; and the Orange County Engineering Council for engineering project achievement.

Pictured: Bob Schlesinger, Brad Mielke, Gavin Fitzsimmons, Nicole Fitzsimmons, Ella Studer (KBR; Vice President, Operations Government Services Americas), John Nguyen (Jacobs), Jake Watson, Kamran Haghighi (Jacobs), David McDonough (Jacobs)