Name: Melbourne Garbe

Firm: Gedeon GRC Consulting


Practicing City: New York


Type of Work: Structural Engineering


Featured Project: Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts

Location: Astoria, Queens, NY

Completion Date: September 2011

Your Role: I was the Associate responsible for the overall structural design and construction administration of the project.

Project Description: The Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts is a $77M school for the New York City School Construction Authority and includes a state of the art 800-seat theater, full competition gymnasium, outdoor roof theater and a 99 space parking garage below the grade. The architect was Ennead.















                                                                                                    The Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts

Q & A


How did you first learn about architecture/engineering and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you?

I was raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone where I attended high school and started my college studies in Civil Engineering. I obtained a B.Sc degree in Civil Engineering and Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Construction Management from Leeds University in England. My interest in buildings and the built environment started in appreciating the architecture of some of the buildings in my high school. My interest in structural engineering also developed in Sierra with a couple of Uncles who practiced civil/structural engineering and urged me to consider it as a profession.


What do you do?

I am the Director of Building at Gedeon GRC, a professional engineer and a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, UK, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Sierra Leone Institute of Engineers.  My primary role is to oversee the structural engineering services and team at Gedeon GRC Consulting, business development and marketing for structural engineering services and to ensure we always produce quality work for our clients.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy primarily about my job is the opportunity to work with architects to help them realize their project objectives, while ensuring that they fully appreciate the structural challenges or consequences associated with the design. I also enjoy mentoring younger engineers.


What excites you in the work you do?

Part of what excites me about the work I do is being able to provide architects with practical and elegant structural solutions to problems they encounter in their design and seeing the completion of projects.


Who or what inspires you professionally?

I started my engineering career at Arups and Sir Ove Arup, who I had the good fortune of meeting was one of the engineers I have admired the most. I am also inspired by the work of architects that have pushed the envelope in structural design like Norman Forster, Renzo Piano and Frank Lloyd Wright. Architects like Max Bond and Ben Thompson, both of whom I had the opportunity to work with have been inspirations.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement (related to architecture/engineering)?

It is difficult to categorically state what has been my proudest achievement. I have been fortunate to work on projects that have been very meaningful to me; the Mashantucket Pequot Museum of Research and Culture, the British Library, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts, the African Burial Ground National Monument and the United Nations Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  From an emotional and poignant perspective, after the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on 9/11, I was among the first group of engineers to assist with search and rescue operations.


How long have you been involved with nycoba NOMA?

My first interaction with nycoba NOMA was in the mid 1990’s when I was working at Arups. I attended a few meetings and did a presentation to the members of my work at Arups. I am a member of nycoba NOMA and regularly attend their events.


Why are you a nycoba NOMA member?

I joined nycoba NOMA because as a structural engineer, I work closely with architects and as one of the few black structural engineers who has had the opportunity to work on very interesting projects and well known clients, I feel it is important that I share and offer my skills and experience to the minority architects who belong to this organization.


What do you value most about your nycoba NOMA membership?

What I benefit most from my nycoba NOMA membership is the opportunity to share my experiences and interact with talented minority architects and to hopefully collaborate with them as they chart their careers.


Visit https://gedeongrc.com/ for additional information.