Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life, Oshman Family JCC & Moldaw Residences

This 8.5-acre, urban campus provides an architecturally dynamic environment for both young and old and proved an intriguing structural challenge with non-traditional pathways and building shapes as well as parking below the podium.


Customized Solution

  • This LEED Silver Certified urban campus is designed around eight outdoor rooms, each with its own distinctive identity. Consisting of 8 concrete and 4 steel buildings, the campus allows its residents all of the benefits of city life, without the challenges of urban life for seniors. It includes the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center with gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, locker rooms, a multi-purpose theatre, offices, retail spaces, food service areas, nursery school, classrooms, independent and assisted living units and a CCRC continuum care retirement community.
  • With large buildings above ground and parking for 650 cars below, this project was essentially a grand-scale puzzle. Structural components like columns had to be placed carefully and strategically because they came through the parking podium below, so the project team had to make sure they weren’t placing a column in the middle of a thoroughfare for the garage. This proved a particularly engaging task, as the entire campus is set on intersecting grids to create variation in the outdoor pathways and buildings.

Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center

With an energy-efficient design, this DSA approved Performing Arts Center provides acoustically separated rooms, exposed structural elements, and a full-performance theater with a moveable orchestra pit.


Customized Solution

  • This new facility includes a 500-seat full performance theater, a 150-seat black-box theater, catwalks, scene shop, studios, and rehearsal spaces. Perhaps the greatest engineering challenge was the full performance theater with its massive counterweight system, located in the fly tower, which controls large moveable sections of the theatrical space.
  • Even with exposed concrete and steel structural elements throughout the building, Forell | Elsesser helped create acoustic separations between rooms, as it was essential for sound to be contained between each performance/rehearsal space. In addition to these sound requirements, the project team met the rigorous plan checking of the Division of State Architect (DSA).
  • The building design uses passive systems including natural daylighting in perimeter spaces as well as natural ventilation within the corridors and lobby to increase energy efficiency.

Utah State Capitol Seismic Retrofit

This landmark building in the State of Utah was seismically protected by inserting a base isolation system below the existing historic structure.  Under the main historic dome, Forell | Elsesser Engineers developed an innovative temporary and permanent support solution that separates the rotunda from the ground and the violent shaking of an earthquake.



Customized Solution

  • The State of Utah hired Forell | Elsesser Engineers to assist with a complete historic preservation and base isolation retrofit of the historic Utah State Capitol building. Completed in 1916, the capitol building is a monumental four-story, reinforced concrete, 320,000 s.f. building with granite cladding and a large copper-clad concrete dome.  The structure’s majestic dome stretches 165 feet above the rotunda floor and the outer dome rises 235 feet above the ground.  To protect this massive, yet ornate building, Forell | Elsesser Engineers and Reaveley Engineers have strengthened the building using 256 state-of-the-art seismic isolators under the Capitol Building. During an earthquake, the ground and Capitol will move independently while the isolators deform, stretching sideways up to 24 inches in any direction, thus protecting the building, its people, its contents, and its history.
  • One of the main challenges to retrofitting any historic building with base isolation is the temporary support of the existing structure while inserting isolators and creating an integrated final support system.  In the case of the Utah State Capitol, this challenge was intensified by the weight carried by each of four large piers/footings that support the rotunda dome and surrounding floor area.  For reasons of safety and economy of construction, Forell | Elsesser Engineers developed a method of permanently re-supporting the rotunda of the Capitol with a unique circumferential post-tensioned concrete load transfer scheme that obviated the need for temporary support of the existing footings, eliminated the risk of differential settlement, and minimized the need for excavation and demolition.  The resulting transfer system also eliminated the need to excavate beneath the existing foundations.  The system consists of large concrete beams that wrap the existing pier footing.  These beams form a single composite section with the existing footing and span 51 feet between girders.  The supporting girders each rest on four isolation bearings.  Not only does this solution provide superior performance in consideration of the lives of building occupants, it protects the building itself, the single most valuable, prized, and historically significant structure owned by the State of Utah.