Charles H. Thornton

Charles H. Thornton
Charles H. Thornton
  • From:

    Thornton & Tomasetti Group, Inc. | Washington, D.C.

  • Year:


  • Subject:

    Civil Engineering

  • Award:

    Benjamin Franklin Medal

  • Citation:

    For his insightful and imaginative use of common structural elements in the design of long span structures and high rise buildings, which includes the world's tallest building; for his leadership role in the investigation of structural failures, coupled with the translation of these failure investigations into lessons for the design of safer structures; and for his tireless work to motivate high school students to pursue careers in structural engineering, architecture and the construction industry.

Charles H. Thornton has a reputation for taking common structural components and applying them in extraordinary ways expanding the horizons of structural design. Among his plethora of designs are the world's tallest building, the Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Malaysia; the United Airlines Terminal at O'Hare Airport in Chicago; Pac Bell Park in San Francisco; Chiefly Tower in Australia; Battery Park City, a two-building complex of 40 and 50 stories with the attached Winter Garden, in New York City; and One Liberty Place in Philadelphia.

He was part of the team that evaluated both the Oklahoma and World Trade Center bombings.

Thornton is also recognized for offering support and leadership to programs like the ACE Mentor Program, a non-profit organization that he founded, which offers training and guidance in architecture, construction, and engineering to inner city high school students throughout America. Thornton meets regularly with young men and women in the ACE program as well as serving on the board of Philadelphia's Charter High School for Architecture and Design.

Thornton earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Manhattan College, and his M.S. in civil engineering and Ph.D. in structural and engineering mechanics from New York University. He has won numerous awards and is a member of the National Academy of Engineers, an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Testing and Materials to name a few.

Dr. Thornton teaches future architects and engineers. He works with the Philadelphia architectural charter school and founded the national ACE Mentor Program.

Dr. Thornton designed the world's tallest building, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The towers are 1,492 feet (452 m) tall.

After the World Trade Center collapse and the Oklahoma City bombing (as seen), Dr. Thornton helped assess the damage and safety hazards.

Information as of April 2003