view all images ( of 3 shown)

Male, US, born 1923-08-24, died 1998-02-19

Associated with the firms network

Forell | Elsesser Structural Engineers, Incorporated; Forell, Nicholas, and Associates, Structural Engineers

Professional History


Forell worked for two architectural engineering firms in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1951-1964. He created his own firm in 1964. Partner, Forell / Elsesser Engineering, Incorporated, San Francisco, CA.

President, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California; President, Applied Technology Council. In the wake of the destructive Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, that flattened the "Cypress Structure" viaduct, Governor George Deukmejian appointed Forell to chair the Caltrans Peer Review Board, which analyzed seismic upgrade solutions for CA highways and bridges. He later was made a member of the Caltrans State Seismic Advisory Board. He often was appointed to government-assembled, post-earthquake response teams sent around the world, including Algeria and Mexico. He served as a member of the National Institute of Building Sciences', Building Seismic Safety Council, developing national earthquake engineering guidelines.

Fellow, Structural Engineers Association of California; Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE);


Coursework, City College of New York (CCNY), New York, NY, c. 1941. B.S., Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI, c. 1946-1950.



Nicholas Frank Forell, né Klaus Franz Joachim Friedrich Forell, was born in Züllichau, when it was a Prussian portion of the Ostbrandenburg/Neumark Province of Germany. (After World War II, it became Sulechów, Lubuskie, and a part of Poland.)

Forell immigrated to the US during 1941. living first in New York, NY, at 545 West 111 Street. He joined the US Army in 1942, assigned to the Signal Corps' Heavy Construction Battalion operating with British troops in Burma. After the war, he returned too the US and enrolled at Brown University, Providence, RI, where he remained until c. 1950. He married and with his bride moved to California in 1951. His 53-year practice in structural engineering, particularly earthquake engineering, was centered in the Bay Area. Forell died in Tiburon, CA, of cancer at age 74.

Forell married twice. While in college at Brown University, he married his first wife, Margaret Bronson, who had three children of her own. She later became Margaret Olwell, and lived in Santa Rose, CA, in 1998. One year after he started his own engineering consulting firm in 1964, he married his second wife, Carol Clark.

With Margaret Bronson, he helped raise three step-children; Bennet Bronson who lived in Chicago, IL, in 1998; Elizabeth Bronson then of Rio Vista, CA, and Roderick Bronson then of Cambridge, MA. He had two of his own daughters with Carol Clark, Katherine Forell and Anne Forell Romero, both of whom lived in San Francisco, CA, in 1998.

Associated Locations

  • Züllichau , Ostbrandenburg/Neumark Germany (Architect's Birth)
    Züllichau , Ostbrandenburg/Neumark Germany

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

  • Tiburon, WA (Architect's Death)
    Tiburon, WA

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

PCAD id: 1739