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ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 14
ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 15
ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 14
ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 15
By Eugene J.Peltier
Arsham Amirikian, a former chief engineering adviser of the U.S. Naval
Facilities Engineering Command (formerly Bureau of Yards and Docks), died
on July 2, 1990, at the age of ninety-one.
Dr. Amirikian was born in Kighie, Armenia, in 1899. He graduated from
Bézazian College, Constantinople, in 1917; Ecole Supérieure ties Ponts et
Chaussées with a B.S. in civil engineering in 1919; Cornell University with the
degree in civil engineering in 1923; and the Institute of Technology
(Technische Hochschule) of Vienna, Austria, in 1960 with a D.Sc. based on a
thesis of his theory of protective construction.
He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1980. He was a
brilliant engineer and was known for his many innovative projects that served
the Navy and the Seabees, as well as the entire technical community and
Dr. Amirikian, who lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland, started his career in
1923 as a structural draftsman working for five steel fabrication shops. In 1928
he entered government service as an assistant structural engineer with the U.S.
Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks in Washington, D.C. He remained with the
command until May 31,1971, advancing through the grades of chief design
engineer and special structural consultant to that of his position as chief
ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 16
Dr. Amirikian's area of specialization was very broad, including but not
limited to the analysis and design of special structures, waterfront installations
and auxiliary floating craft, and the development of application techniques for
welded steel and precast concrete construction. He received the U.S. Navy
Civilian Career Achievement Award for the development of the Ammi Lift
Dock and Transfer System. He received the Department of Defense
Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his concept and design of Ammi
Tactical Support Structures a the invention of the biserrated orthotropic framing
He was granted awards for progress in engineering design for arc welded
structures. The award he received in 1968 from the American Welding Society
was for welded pontoon bridges used in the war effort in Vietnam. He received
several awards in design competitions sponsored by the J. F. Lincoln Arc
Welding Foundation. He also received the Alfred E. Lindau Award from the
American Concrete Institute in 1958, the George W. Goethals Medal of the
Society of American Military Engineers in 1971, and the Ernest E. Howard
Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1978.
Dr. Amirikian had a long association with technical and professional
societies and took an active part in their work through committees. He was
chairman of the American Welding Society Committee 17. This committee
developed, over a period of time, a new code for welding reinforcing bars.
Nothing of this sort was available heretofore, and previous work was done
without formulating standards or guidelines.
His publications, which well exceeded one hundred, included Analysis of
Rigid Frames published in 1942, Basic Structural Engineering in 1954, and The
Influence of the Art of Welding on the Creative Concepts of Structural Design
His creative designs included timber and reinforced concrete structures.
One of his designs in timber, the U.S. Navy's famed wooden hangar for
dirigibles, of which fourteen were built during World War II, was appraised by
Engineering News Record as the most outstanding structural development of the
period. He developed two types of thin-section concrete framing systems, one
for floating craft and one for shore structures, for which he
ARSHAM AMIRIKIAN 17
received an award from the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute in 1952.
Dr. Amirikian was a honorary member of the American Society of Civil
Engineers and the American Welding Society and was a registered professional
engineer in several states. He retired as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve in the
mid-1960s. Besides English and his native Armenian, he spoke and wrote
French and Turkish and read and wrote German, Spanish, and Italian.
In a field of wide scope covering a variety of shore facilities and floating
craft, his entire career was devoted to developing and improving methods of
structural analysis, framing arrangements of increased efficiency, and
construction techniques and procedures of greater economy. If he had been
allowed another ambition, it might have been to have capped his distinguished
career by extending his contact and influence in the ever-widening theater of
world science and applied techniques, perhaps through a new assignment such
as a technical or scientific attaché in a U.S. embassy abroad or in a special
educational endeavor in his prime field of structural engineering.
Dr. Amirikian was a most honored engineer; he received numerous awards
from government, industry, and technical societies.
His dedication and expertise in several fields were an inspiration to many
who worked with him and had the privilege of knowing him. He truly left his
mark in furthering the knowledge base of the engineering profession.