Aspire to the Sky: The Wilshire Grand Story
Meet Dilip Khatri, Structural Engineer-turned-filmmaker and member of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC), who is paving the way for Hollywood’s depiction of the structural engineering profession and the larger construction design industry. Long overlooked by most media, Khatri brings attention to this aspect of the built community in Aspire to the Sky: The Wilshire Grand Story.
Dr. Khatri does not follow the typical path of a practicing structural engineering professional. With a PHD from the University of Southern California, one might be surprised of his career path in becoming a filmmaker. However, this passion reflects a childhood dream to make movies. His company, Khatri International, must be one of the only Structural Engineering firms with a specialty in filmmaking!
“Its Not Just a Building, it’s a Sum Total of Many Dreams”
Aspire to the Sky: The Wilshire Grand story reflects the trials and tribulations of a modern-day designer, working within the seismically-active region of Los Angeles. Built 1000 feet over an active fault, the Wilshire Grand site is 25-30% more seismically active than comparable sites in the downtown area. However, where one may see a problem, engineers see a challenge to overcome.
“Where Art Meets Science…”
The film overviews the construction and development process of the Wilshire Grand, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. It meticulously interviews and interprets the work of Engineer-of-Record, Brandow and Johnston and its collaboration with Thornton Tomasetti. Teaming with Architect AC Martin, this collaboration demonstrates how a mathematical mind can work in tandem with architectural ideal to create something truly iconic.
Set in the background of the Korean-American war, the film overviews the significance of LA’s multicultural identity, providing a foundation for one of the most significant structures in the world. Chairman Cho, CEO of Korean Airlines and alumnus of USC provided direction for the project, allowing for collaboration to flow. It outlines the advantages of working with a proactive and open-minded owner of any project. Supplying 11,000 construction jobs and breaking the mold of the standard flat-roofed skyscraper, the Wilshire Grand is a symbol of an investment in the city and serves as a precursor for future innovation.
With a structural steel frame and concrete shear wall core, the structure maintains the flexibility for withstanding seismic events, while remaining rigid enough for lateral wind resistance. Due to its height and slenderness, steel buckling restrained brace (BRB) outriggers were installed.
With an understanding of the structural design world, Dilip Khatri provides an accurate glimpse into our often-hidden industry. With this film as a leading example, we hope to see more portrayals of our world in the modern-day media landscape. Congratulations to Dilip on this wonderful film, and we are looking forward to seeing his future projects!
Beginning this year, Dilip and SEAOSC, through its the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, will be releasing a series of short films portraying the life stories, careers, and personal influences of structural engineers from various backgrounds. Beginning with the release of “The Future”, we will be releasing a series of short films over the next 6 months! Follow us on social media to learn more about our upcoming release.
This film is also available on Amazon Prime.