UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

Adaptive re-use of a 1938 historic press building into a state-of-the-art museum with an adjacent free-form structure for a new film archive and theater. This project, also known as the BAMPFA, will be seeking LEED Gold certification.


Customized Solution

  • Forell | Elsesser recently completed this project with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and EHDD Architects. This new museum and cultural center project totals approximately 80,000 sq. ft.  and incorporates a new state-of-the-art theater facility with the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of an existing art deco style former printing plant.
  • An interesting component of the project is the interaction between the new and existing structures. Large floating volumes connect the structures and act as a gallery and performance spaces. New gallery space is created below the existing building leaving the historic exterior intact.
  • From the street, the theater appears to be floating inside a perimeter glass floor that allows those at the street to see into the subterranean library space. The structural system creates an illusion of floating spaces and volumes while preserving the historic and architecturally expressive components.

Jewish Home of San Francisco, Rosenberg Family Center & Synagogue

When challenged by modernizing the campus of a 140+ year old skilled nursing facility, Forell | Elsesser worked closely with the owner, architects, and contractor to build a new state-of-the-art kitchen, clinics, and synagogue to serve the 430-bed facility. The multi-faceted program was effectively shoe-horned into a constrained site, and carefully coordinated construction phasing allowed the facility to continue operations without disruption.


Customized Solution

  • Forell | Elsesser provided structural and civil engineering services for the 54,000 s.f. new construction and replacement of this residential facility, built in 1923, providing assisted living to 430 elderly persons. The replacement of one wing of the original brick building now houses a new kitchen to prepare 1,300 meals per day, a new geriatric medical clinic, new offices, research laboratories, and a small synagogue. The rehabilitation of the existing facility also accommodates an adult day health center and a health club. The new building is a 2-story building above a full basement.  The structural system includes concrete moment frames and shear walls with 2-way concrete slabs.

San Francisco Asian Art Museum

Forell | Elsesser served as Engineer of Record for the 180,000 s.f. adaptive re-use and seismic isolation retrofit of the City of San Francisco’s Old Main Library into a world-class Asian Art Museum.  Built in 1917 in the Beaux-Arts style, the building is one of the City’s most important historic structures and was adapted to retain the beauty of its architectural character. The building structure is steel framed with masonry walls. This museum houses the largest non-property asset in the City of San Francisco with an estimated value of
$5 billion.

Customized Solution

  • The seismic upgrade scheme involved base isolation with the stiffening of the superstructure through the addition of concrete shear walls to protect the museum’s irreplaceable collection of Asian art and artifacts, including immensely valuable, brittle Ming Dynasty vases.
  • The base isolation bearings were placed over a reinforced foundation system below the current slab on grade.  A new suspended basement floor was constructed above the isolation bearings.  Reinforced concrete shear walls were constructed from the top of the basement floor to the roof level to provide a complete and rigid lateral load path for all sections of the building.  Floor diaphragm reinforcement and collector lines were used to tie the existing and new floors into the new shear walls.