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UCLA building completes renovations for enhanced seismic, energy, and curriculum requirements

CO Architects designed the project.

July 12, 2021 |
Pritzker Hall exterior

All photos: Kim Rodgers

Pritzker Hall, originally designed in 1967 by Paul Revere Williams as Franz Hall Psychology Tower, has recently completed a modernization project on the UCLA campus. The 125,000-sf building is a 100-foot cube that comprises eight above-ground floors and three subterranean ones. It houses research laboratories, dry laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices.

The updates to the building improve the seismic stability and energy efficiency. Seismic updates often involve adding external bracing via plates and posts. CO Architects and UCLA decided to pursue less-prominent alternatives. The team worked with UCLA’s Engineering Department to validate viscous dampers. Functioning as shock absorbers, 40 purpose-built dampers were strategically added to Pritzker Hall’s six above-ground floors.


Pritzker Hall exterior


The modernization project also featured interior updates to accommodate current curriculum standards. The building’s original single-story lobby was opened to double height to create informal study space. A new media wall in the lobby displays Psychology Department research and events. LED lighting was added throughout. Many of the building’s original architectural intentions were retained, including the second floor’s exposed structural waffle slab. Existing damaged marble walls and terrazzo flooring were covered with new compatible materials.


Pritzker Hall renovations


The project was recently awarded a 2021 WUF Design Award in the Public/Institutional category by the Westside Urban Forum. In addition to CO Architects, the build team also included Rudolph and Sletten (general contractor, construction manager at risk), Affiliated Engineers (MEP engineer), KPFF (civil and structural engineer), Taylor Devices (viscous dampers), Studio-MLA (landscape architecture), KGM Architectural Lighting (lighting), Waveguide (acoustical), SKA (environmental graphics), and Page & Turnbull (historic consultant).


Pritzker Hall interior after renovations


Pritzker Hall classroom space

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