Othmar H. Ammann
National Medal of Science
For a half-century of distinguished leadership in the design of great bridges which combine beauty and utility with bold engineering concept and method.
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BirthMarch 26, 1879
Country of BirthSwitzerland
Key ContributionsVerrazano Bridge
George Washington Bridge
Awarded byLyndon Baines Johnson
EducationSwiss Federal Institute of Technology
Areas of ImpactTransportation
Energy & Environment
AffiliationsAmmann & Whitney
Bridges don’t just get us from point A to point B. They are works of art.
'It is a crime to build an ugly bridge,” Othmar Ammann said near the end of his life. The Swiss-born civil engineer is responsible for many of the bridges that connect New York City with the rest of the country. His designs, known for their aesthetic beauty, have been both praised and imitated by bridge builders around the world.
In 1925, as head engineer of the Port of New York Authority, Ammann was charged with designing a structure to cross the Hudson River. The project – later named the George Washington Bridge – was one of the longest suspension bridges of its time, measuring at 3,500 feet.
Ammann later topped himself in 1964, opening the 4,260-foot-long Verrazano-Narrows bridge, a double-decker thruway that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. It still holds the record as the longest suspension bridge in the United States.