Project Spotlight

Many SEAOCC members have been responsible for the design of complex, innovative, and award-winning projects in California and around the globe. Read on to find out about the most recent SEAOCC Excellence in Structural Engineering Award winning projects and other innovative projects designed by local firms! 


 

2020 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

New Construction 

Design Firm:

Lionakis

Project:

Dyer-Kelly Elementary School Replacement Campus, San Juan Unified School District

 

 

 

 

This project boasts a low budget, 16-month construction completion of the new two-story 75,750 square foot single building
replaced the existing Dyer-Kelly Elementary School campus to serve students in an underserved community. The project was
design-build with a total construction cost of $35 million. Some of the notable aspects of this project include:

  • The requirement of a robust construction phasing and safety plan due to the project site being adjacent to the existing campus buildings.
  • Creating the entire campus in a single building footprint required consideration for a future expansion. Requiring a seismic separation for one wing of the main structure to allow the flexibility for future expansion.

Housing all the function of the entire elementary school campus within a single building also presented the challenge of choice of structural system. The design includes a large amphitheater, high-volume spaces required for the multi-purpose and foodservice areas. As a result, the structural system selected was steel framing with prefabricated exterior wall panels to minimize on-site construction time. The lateral resisting system was Side-plate moment frames with columns embedded in grade beams for fixity and reduced inter-story drift with optimum space flexibility in primary spaces, cold-formed shear walls to accommodate high volume multi-purpose spaces, and strategically placed seismic gaps for easy accommodation of future expansion.

The exterior cladding system was also designed with minimizing construction time, construction cost, and safety concerns in mind. The design consisted of two-story wall panels to be fabricated at the contractor’s shop facility. The modular window configuration specifically sized to lay flat on a delivery truck and be quickly attached to the structure with bypass framing clips. This off-site prefabrication successfully minimized construction time, saved construction dollars and reduced some of the safety concerns associated with construction on an occupied elementary school campus.



2020 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

Retrofit/Alteration

Design Firm:

Buehler

Project:

SMUD Headquarters Seismic Retrofit

 

 

 

 

This project was awarded for their innovative design and mitigation strategy for seismically retrofitting the SMUD Headquarters building to a higher performance level than code mandated minimums. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and the rehabilitation was designed to comply with the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, Standards for Rehabilitation." The mitigation strategy for the building had the following main objectives: 

  1. Mitigate the structural deficiencies of the building to extend the useful life of the strucutrue to that equivalent to a new structure
  2. integrate the retrofit to preserve the building configuration and historic exterior facade

The Performance Objective selected for the SMUD Headquarters South Wing and Core building was the Basic Performance Objective Equivalent to New Building Standards (BPON). Integration of the California Historic Building Code (CHBC) was utilized on a case-by-case basis as required to balance the required structural performance with the desired historic preservation. The retrofit was a voluntary seismic upgrade, but it triggered mandatory seismic strengthening of certain elements of the load path because of an addition to the core area of the building. The lateral force resisting system of the existing building consisted of open web joist steel moment frames. The retrofit strategy included:

  1. Incorporation of fluid viscous dampers to reduce building drift and protect the historic fabric
  2. Improving the performance of the open web truss beam-column joints via truss chord/web and column/web strengthening
  3. Robust interconnection of the building’s south wing to two new multi-story moment frames within the building’s core
  4. Strengthening of the lightweight concrete over metal deck diaphragms with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) at the highest stressed areas to aid in force transfer to the new core moment frames.

 

2019 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

New Construction 

Design Firm:

Buehler

Project:

Ice Block 1

 

 

 

 

ICE Block I is one of the first projects in Northern California to utilize an exposed heavy timber structure. The building blends three structural materials in a seamless and revealing fashion, with heavy timber upper floors supported by a concrete podium at the second floor, and steel Buckling Restrained Braced Frames (BRBFs) for the lateral system.

The glulam post and beam system of the upper levels uses a cantilevered girder over the columns as opposed to a traditional simple span girder. This allowed for a reduction in girder depth to make it commensurate with the beam depths. The glulam beams connect to the girders and columns with custom steel saddle hangers and column caps. Solid sawn 3x decking with a non-structural concrete topping round out the floor system at the wood levels. The fourth floor is the crown jewel of the architecture, with the north and south edge of the floor pulled back from the exterior wall to create a two-story volume, which allows tenants a vertical connection through the 30-foot-tall space.

The concrete second floor is a one-way reinforced concrete slab supported by post-tensioned girders. The girders in the second floor serve as a transfer girder to transition the column spacing of the wood levels to a grid appropriate for drive aisles in the basement parking level. The second floor was chosen for the transfer girder level because there was ample height clearance at level 1, which allowed the garage level to be as shallow as possible to minimize excavation depth.

The BRBFs strategically exposed on the exterior of the building on the north and south sides express the structural elements as an architectural feature and provided a unique engineering challenge to deliver the lateral forces to the frame. On the east and west ends, the BRBF is encased in the concrete columns and beams. The BRBF system transfers its forces to the concrete shear wall system of the basement walls at the first-floor level through large embedded steel plates in the tops of the concrete columns.

The nearly identical east and west wings are connected by a sky bridge at the second through fourth floors, which is seismically isolated at one end. The first-floor exterior deck area is elevated 30 inches from the adjacent sidewalk grade to create a pedestrian area for retail and restaurant use.


 

2019 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

Retrofit/Alteration

Design Firm:

Barrish Pelham, A Degenkolb Company

Project:

C.K. McClatchy High School Visual & Performing Arts Modernization

 

 

 

 

Barrish Pelham, a Degenkolb Company (Barrish Pelham), provided the structural design for the modernization of the historic C.K. McClatchy High School’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) building. The existing 1930s-era, 850-seat theater and associated spaces—including a black box classroom, dressing area, 3D art/scenes shop, photography classroom, band room, ceramics lab, and digital media classroom—all required significant upgrades for a modern learning environment. The $15.0M project modernized more than 31,000 square-feet of the existing building’s VAPA wing comprised of cast-in-place concrete walls, raised concrete floors, and wood-framed roofs. All work took place to the single-story portions of the attached two-story main building.

In 2002, the school was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which made preserving the building’s original details essential to the modernization. The historic renovation of the campus’ performing arts venue and associated classrooms maintained many of the unique features of the original 1937 building, including Spanish-tile roofing, stained glass windows, a vaulted ceiling structure in the theater, and metal caps at the ends of each row of audience chairs.

The building has an irregular footprint with more than 120,000 square feet of area with intermixed single and two-story portions.  The irregular building is entirely connected without any seismic joints. All impacts to the existing concrete shear walls and floor diaphragms needed to be identified and addressed. The design team used a Building Information Model (BIM) to build it from the ground up, including HVAC in the roof, crawlspace, and underground as well as the electrical runs throughout the historic structure. Barrish Pelham strived to maintain as much as of the existing roof as possible. This required modifying dead loads at existing steel trusses to allow for an increase in live loads.

The modernization process focused on retaining existing systems as much as feasible. Preserving the stage’s headblock beam, original theater’s riveted roof trusses, and re-using original cast-in anchors where possible are some examples of sustaining its history and reducing the overall impact.



2018 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

New Construction

Design Firm:

Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers Inc.

Project:

MERRITT COLLEGE SCIENCE AND ALLIED HEALTH BUILDING

 

 

 

 

 

This Project overcame several large challenges, any one of which could have kept the project from being built. These challenges created an opportunity for structural engineers to positively impact the project.Some of the project challenges included:

  • Extremely high seismic design forces due to close proximity (2km) to the Hayward Fault, an Sds  1.9 was used.
  • A dramatically sloping site; more than 20 feet across the entire length.
  • Rigorous and challenging plan review process with DSA Oakland.
  • Tight project schedule which necessitated early bid packages and material buyouts.

Our Engineering team designed an innovative structural system to meet the extreme needs of the project. The gravity system consisted of composite concrete and metal deck over steel beams and steel columns. The core feature was the lateral system: a high performance Buckling Restrained Brace System (BRBF) to reduce demands on the foundations and therefore significantly reduce costs. With this system we could also provide early buyouts, validate costs and meet the schedule. Our design concept enabled us to deliver the project under budget by $1.5 million and on time.

The basic building organization consists of a series of student-centered learning neighborhoods centered around high-tech specialized laboratory wings supported by shared-use general classrooms on each of the building’s four stories. Given the significant slope of the existing site, three of the four stories of the building have direct access to grade. With this connectivity opportunity, the learning neighborhoods have become places of invitation and engagement between the facility and the campus. The aesthetics of the architecture reinforces the curriculum. The success of the Center has created an educational and social experience that will continue to challenge, inspire and create the new heart and energy the campus and community desired.



2018 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

Historic Preservation

Design Firm:

CYS Structural Engineers, Inc.

Project:

Carson Block Building

 

 

 

 

 

The rehabilitation of the stately, 19th-century Carson Block Building included a seismic retrofit and restoration of several interior and exterior features.  The project revived one of Eureka’s first commercial buildings and reignited a communal pride in the city’s National Register-listed Historic District.  The 50,000 SF building was built mostly of redwood with terra-cotta panels, brick arches, cast iron columns, and a tall redwood storefront.  Boasting Richardson Romanesque features, a style indicative of east coast refinement, the building was initially a stark contrast to structures that populated Eureka, then still a frontier town.  The Carson Block Building also contained the luxurious 1,400 seat Ingomar Theater, one of the first in the region.  Key structural elements of the project included:

  • Providing strong and stiff lateral force elements behind the all glass south and west walls, that are not visible while preserving the historic fabric in those areas;
  • Stabilizing the full-height north and east masonry walls of the theater;
  • Restoring stability for the north end of the west wall that had been compromised by previous remodeling projects; and
  • Providing a Risk Category III Level renovation design for portions of the building to be occupied during the performances at the future theater.



2018 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

Special-Use Structures

Design Firm:

NSSE

Project:

Our H2Ouse - Zero Net Energy House

 

 

 

 

California has experienced the state's hottest drought years on record within these past 10 years. As a result, many of the state's unsustainable water and energy use practices within urban and rural areas have been brought to light and calls for increased water and energy efficiency have been initiated by the state government, such as the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and 2030 Climate Commitment. Based on an analysis of the social, political, economic, and environmental factors involved in the most recent California drought, it was determined that the state can increase its water and energy resilience by fostering a robust, conjunctive management of resources. Such a system aims to increase the general knowledge and sharing of collective as well as individual resource consumption data.

Our H2Ouse demonstrates that greater level of efficiency can be achieved by making the occupants of home the author of their own conservation experience. They will be made aware of their individual water usage in the house and educated in ways to reduce water use whenever possible.

Methods of energy and water saving were implemented from the project outset. Simply by designing smaller, more efficient structures, the building would have inherent water and energy savings. Therefore, the building envelope of the home was designed to be compact, and better insulated than standard framing methods. Additionally, the exterior design of the house and any irrigated plant life on the property will be entirely supported by what the occupants in the house have already used.



2018 SEAOCC EXCELLENCE IN STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING AWARDS WINNER

New Construction - Award of Merit

Design Firm:

Lionakis

Project:

Foothill College Sunnyvale Center

 

 

 

 

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the new Sunnyvale Education Center represents the first campus extension building to support Foothill College in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. Serving as the redevelopment of the former Onizuka Air Force Station, the building is two stories with a 46,991 square foot floor plan. The east and west wings house classroom and faculty offices and are connected by a central entry core with student resources, gathering spaces, and a coffee shop. The east wing of the building features sweeping roof line curves and open glazing, while the west wing features a more prominent geometry and finishes similar to the Onizuka Air Force Station structures on site.

The structure is steel framed with concrete filled steel floor decks throughout the building. The eastern classroom wing departs from the west wing roof with a radiused high roof deck over an open corridor with exposed roof framing and braced frames spanning across a continuous openings in the main roof deck. The Seismic Force Resisting System for the structure is special concentric steel brace frames utilizing unique in-plane buckling design for the plastic hinge region of the gusset plates.

The foundation of the structure is a two foot thick concrete mat slab under the entire footprint. Prior to constructing the mat slab, a 10 foot high uniform stock-pile of base concrete material, recycled on-site from the demolition of an existing parking garage, was built over the future foundation footprint of the building and monitored until soil settlement had stabilized. This sustainable approach removed costly driven piles from the design.

The Foothill College Sunnyvale Center has set the bar for future development on this expansion campus through a collaborative approach to sustainable practices across all disciplines, including an efficient yet robust structural design.



HIGHLIGHTED PROJECTS

Do you have a challenging, unique, or otherwise interesting design or research project that you would like to share with the SEAOCC community? We are always interested in hearing about the ways our member firms and organizations are advancing the practice of structural engineering! Head on over to the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards to see how your project can be featured on the website! Please contact the SEAOCC office with questions.