Reconstruction Awards: San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building

The building team used a system of rocking concrete shear walls, which eliminated the need for deep foundations and reduced the shear force on each wall.

November 16, 2016 |

The seismic upgrade of the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building used nonlinear dynamic analysis to implement a system of rocking concrete walls connected to the foundation by 250 shear lugs grouted into a greased sleeve. Glenn Nevill / Simpson Gumpertz & Heger.

The renovation of the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building, built in the Beaux-Art style in 1932, revolved chiefly around a seismic upgrade and repair to damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. 

The Building Team, headed by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SE), decided that massive foundation hold-downs would be impractical: the terra cotta–clad, concrete infill walls of the steel-framed structure posed too many life safety hazards.

Instead, the team used a system of rocking concrete shear walls, which eliminated the need for deep foundations and reduced the shear force on each wall. To allow the walls to rock, 250 shear lugs constructed of steel pipe were cast into the new walls and grouted into a greased sleeve in the existing foundation. 

The final design thickness of the walls was 10 inches. Analyses indicated wall uplift of about 0.5 inches at the ends under maximum considered earthquake shaking.

The building’s MEP, HVAC, and lighting systems were upgraded, as was the theatrical system in the Herbst Theater, a performing arts space in the memorial building.

 

PROJECT SUMMARY 

 

Bronze Award Winner | San Francisco, Calif.

Building Team: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (submitting firm, SE, building enclosure manager); San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center (owner); San Francisco Public Works (architect); Carey & Co. (historic architect); SJ Engineers (mechanical/plumbing); Glumac (electrical); Charles Pankow Builders (CM).
Details: 235,000 sf. Construction cost: $156 million. Construction time: July 2013 to October 2015. Delivery method: CM at risk.

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