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  • Writer's pictureSt. James by-the-Sea

Engineering team wins award for historic preservation

A project the size of the new St. James organ takes a huge team to accomplish, excellent structural engineering is critical to the church's safety and support. We were thrilled to learn that MDEP Structures won the 2023 Award for Historic Preservation for their work on the St. James Organ Project. Given by the Structural Engineers Association of San Diego, the firm was recognized for its work creating the steel structures that support the five organ cases.

“This was a surprise to us,” said to MDEP owner Matt Mangano. “But when it comes to organ design, there is no rule book as to how to do it, so we had to work directly with the organ makers. “In addition to functionality and aesthetics, we had to consider things like the impact of vibration and how to retrofit 100-year-old concrete.”

Many of the pipes are hidden behind “very ornate carpentry,” and figuring out how to do the installation without impacting existing fixtures was “not an easy project,” said Mangano, who was involved with the project since its inception.

The project “was such an overwhelming experience,” Mangano said. “Beyond that, the feedback from the community has been amazing. That general excitement is what we like to see.”

"St. James is committed to building an organ of the finest quality, and we are thrilled for our friends at MDEP Structures," said music director, Alex Benestelli. "They have been creative, diligent, and extremely meticulous with every detail." Congratulations to everyone on the engineering team!

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