Joe Burns Lecture: Designing Sustainable High Rise Architecture


Location: 104 Bond Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556

Mr. Burns is a member of the Thornton Tomasetti board of directors and is the managing principal overseeing the firm’s practice areas and operations in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Brazil. His 30+ years of contributions to the AEC industry have been recognized with his advancement to fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Architects and International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

He is a recipient of the American Institute of Steel Construction's Special Achievement Award and was named to Structural Engineer magazine’s Power List and ENR's Top 25 Newsmakers list for the innovative use of Tekla modeling in the redevelopment of Chicago’s Soldier Field.


His credits span a wide spectrum of building types and include commercial, residential, retail, healthcare, education, performing arts, museums, aviation, and sports. Among his portfolio of notable sustainable projects are the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company's Masdar Headquarters Building, a 1.25-million-square-foot commercial building that was designed to be a zero carbon emission, green community; Chicago's Rush University Medical Center Transformation Program, a LEED Gold hospital addition with an open-air terrarium that extends 40 feet to a roof-top garden; and a LEED Gold high rise in Charlotte, North Carolina that features an urban garden that connects the tower to an adjacent hotel.

Additional projects include the Ford Calumet Environmental Center in Chicago, a visitor center designed to meet LEED Platinum; a convocation center at the University of Illinois at Chicago that utilized locally sourced masonry and glass to help it meet LEED Silver standards, and The Ohio State University Medical Center’s one-million-square-foot, LEED Silver Wexner Medical Center Expansion.

Mr. Burns’ notable high-rise projects include structural engineer-of-record services for a the proposed 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire, The Clare at Water Tower, an award-winning 54-story life care residential center in Chicago and managing principal for the 1000m+ Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Burns is professional architect and structural engineer with registrations in numerous states domestically and also the United Kingdom, as well as a LEED Accredited Professional. He holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame and master’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.