SUPERSTRUCTURES’ Name: Fact or Fiction?
According to company lore, our founding principal Paul Millman was making a purchase in Kmart in 1981 when he spotted, in the toy section, a geometric building kit called . . . SuperStructures. He thought it would be a good name for a firm of engineers and architects that works on prominent buildings. Paul also wanted a name that was more distinctive than the partners’ last names (or the initials of their last names)* and evocative of their vision for the firm.
But our practice development team was curious: Was this origin story truth or urban legend? So they did some research and were able to locate and purchase a vintage SuperStructures set circa 1972, which was just delivered to the office. Thus, the company lore earned a rating of TRUE.
Fittingly, the copy on the box states that “the inherent geometry and shape/color coding provide an intelligence of its own, permitting infinite variety and ‘error-free’ exploration.” This might also describe SUPERSTRUCTURES’ cultivation of the art and science of restoration and our industry-leading construction documents and construction administration.
We also emulated the Helvetica-like font of SuperStructures’ branding in our own graphic identity.
We were fortunate (and surprised) that the name was not already in use by another EA firm, so in 1990 we registered it as a Service Mark (akin to a Trademark) with the US Office of Patent and Trademarks.
SUPERSTRUCTURES takes our work restoring the buildings and infrastructure of New York very seriously. But we also take inspiration from many other fields and unexpected sources—like the Kmart toy department.
* In our particular case, the initials of founding partners Paul Millman and David May would have risked confusion with a world-famous candy.