2017 Fall Forum

November 15, 2017

Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA

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Fall Forum 2017


The SEFW 2017 Fall Forum was a tremendous success! Close to 300 people were able to enjoy the reception and lecture, “Origami: Inspiration in Science, Design, and Structures."


SEFW Chair Mark D'Amato took just a moment at the start of the Forum to identify some of SEFW's endeavors for the year, including outreach with the SEAW Outreach Committee and the FilmWorks Initiative. Mark took the opportunity to show the winning video from the 2017 FilmWorks competition, "Imagine a Better World," submitted by Luke Heath of PCS Structural Solutions. The video captures a spirit of structural engineering and its impact on the world. It was a great way to kick off the Forum.


The first speaker was Robert D. Lang, PhD., professional mathematician and internationally recognized origami scientist. Robert had a very engaging presentation which both showed some of his most creative art commissions and shared origami applications in scientific fields such as space exploration, medicine, and criminal justice. Overall it was interesting to see origami as a unique blending of science and art.


Following Robert's remarks was Tina Hovsepian, AIA, professional architect/developer and founder of the non-profit Cardborigami. Tina applied the origami principle to a significant building industry social concern:  the need for temporary housing to help communities in need. What started as a university project for Tina has grown into a means for international public service, with foldable Cardborigami shelters having been used in 92 countries.


The final speaker for the evening was Mark R. Morden, AIA, Associate Principal at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc. in Seattle and local origami enthusiast. Mark brought the conversation to a close by tying applications of origami into the architecture and engineering world. He discussed prefabricated housing design options that include folding for portability, as well as innovations in lighting, acoustics, shading, and more. Many examples of origami can be seen in structures being built today.


All three speakers had a unique perspective on applications of origami in the design industry, and overall it was a very enlightening evening!


Close to 300 people participated the event, which included a pre-function networking reception that featured origami art displays, hands-on origami examples, a Cardborigami temporary shelter. Thank you to PAPER – the Puget Area Paperfolding Enthusiasts Roundtable – the Seattle area origami hobbyist group, which contributed volunteers and origami examples to the reception.


SEFW also wishes to extend a special thank you to the 43 local firms, 16 individual Friends of the Foundation, and 19 Cooperating Organizations that supported the Forum this year. All donated funds go toward SEFW programs, including support of the SEAW Outreach Committee, SEAW Scholarship program, and more.


About our speakers:

Robert D. Lang, PhD. is an artist and origami consultant based in Alamo, CA. He is recognized as one of the foremost origami artists in the world and is a pioneer in computational origami and folding design algorithms. With a PhD in applied physics from Caltech, Robert has worked with NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spectra Diode Laboratories, and JDS Uniphase, and is author on 100+ papers, 50 patents in lasers and optoelectronics, and 16 books. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech and is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. To see more of his artwork, visit



Tina Hovsepian, AIA, is the Founder and President of Cardborigami, based in Los Angeles, CA. has a bachelor’s in architecture from USC and has experience at Callison, Gruen, and M-Rad Architecture. She is currently design director for Oceanwide Plaza, described as the largest mixed-use development in the history of downtown LA. She is also founder and board chair of Cardborigami, a non-profit that provides transitional shelters for the homeless using her patented portable shelter invention. In recognition of her humanitarian work, Tina was featured in the 2017 Forbes 30 under 30 list of Social Entrepreneurs. To learn more about her non-profit, visit



Mark R. Morden, AIA, is a forensic architect and Associate Principal for Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc., with a BA in architecture from University of Oregon. He worked on the Washington State Legislative Building rehab in Olympia and the Group Health recladding in Everett. Mark first learned of origami in grade school, and has now been practicing paper folding for 30+ years. He founded the Puget Area Paperfolding Enthusiasts Roundtable, “PAPER,” the premier northwest organization dedicated to the promotion and practice of origami. Mark has created several origami artworks, and has been featured in international shows, festivals, and art collections.




About our supporters:

Thank you to the more than 43 firms sponsored the Forum, while 16 cooperating organizations provided publicity and support for the successful event.




Cary Kopczynski & Company

Coffman Engineers

DCI Engineers

PCS Structural Solutions





Contech Services

Coughlin Porter Lundeen

CT Engineering


GLY Construction

Green & Yalowitz

Integrus Architecture

KPFF Consulting Engineers

Lane Powell

Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Peikko Group USA

Seattle Structural

Smith & Huston

Su Development

Wetherholt & Associates




BTL Engineering

CG Engineering


Dibble Engineers

Douglas Engineering

Graphite Design Group


Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Company

Kramer Gehlen & Associates

Lease Crutcher Lewis

Lund Opsahl

Mark & Linda D'Amato

Mayes Testing Engineers


MiTek Builder Products

MLA Engineering

PCL Construction

Quantum Consulting Engineers

Shannon & Wilson

Simpson Strong-Tie


Verco Decking

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates




ACE Mentor Program of Washington

American Concrete Institute

American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington

American Institute of Architects, Seattle Chapter

American Institute of Architects, Spokane Chapter

Art Institute of Seattle

ASCE University of Washington Chapter

Jungle City / Japanese Culture in Seattle

Masonry Institute of Washington

Northwest Concrete Masonry Association

Origami USA

Portland Oregon Paper Shapers

Puget Area Paper Enthusiasts Roundtable ("PAPER")

Seattle Architecture Foundation

Seattle University Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Structural Engineers Association of Washington

University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Urban Land Institute

Washington Association of Building Officials