South San Francisco Community Civic Campus

The South San Francisco Community Civic Campus Project will consist of three separate buildings including an 80,000 sq. ft. Library/Parks and Recreation Building and City Council Chamber, a 45,000 sq. ft. Police Station, and a 9,000 sq. ft. Fire Station, with associated site work on the 7.9-acre parcel. The project is adjacent to underground BART tracks, a PG&E easement, and adjacent to a state highway. 

Customized Solution

  • The new 80,000 sq. ft. main building will house entertainment spaces, classrooms, art space, central library, a new City Council Chamber, and covered parking. The building is steel framed with buckling restrained braces to resist earthquake forces. By using braces, the mostly glass facade will provide natural light into almost all interior spaces.
  • The new 9,000 sq. ft. fire station is a single-story building with three apparatus bays. The residential portions of the building are wood framed with plywood shear walls. The apparatus bay is framed with open web steel joists and uses steel moment frames to resist seismic loads. The frames are designed to reduce seismic drift so that doors will remain operational after an earthquake. 
  • The new 45,000 sq. ft. police station includes a two-story main building and a single-story storage building. The main building is steel framed with buckling restrained braces to resist seismic forces. The storage building has CMU walls and a steel-framed roof. The foundation system is deep piles to support the building on loose soil. The project also includes covered parking to provide privacy and security for vehicles.  


Tianlong Sun

As a Structural Designer at Forell | Elsesser, Tianlong applies his skills in structural analysis and design to improve the efficiency of engineering tools and building designs. Tianlong is passionate about solving challenges in creative and unique architectural designs to find a solution that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Previously, he has contributed to several studies in structural optimization and net-zero construction.

Tianlong received his Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Master’s degree from Stanford University. At Stanford, Tianlong was involved in the interdisciplinary building design project to collaborate with architects, engineers, and construction managers from different cultures. As an undergraduate at Purdue, Tianlong acquired large-scale structural engineering research experience in the Bowen Laboratory.

In his spare time, Tianlong likes exploring new recipes, writing, recording, and performing music in his band.

Brenna Marcoux

Brenna Marcoux is a licensed engineer with extensive experience in structural design. Over her career, Brenna worked on a variety of projects, including single and multi-family residential, commercial, aviation, and seismic retrofit projects. She enjoys working with architects and contractors to deliver thoughtful, creative, and cost-effective designs. Brenna received a Bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree from UC Davis.

Outside of work, Brenna enjoys hiking in the parks around the Bay Area, exercising, traveling, and reading.

Cañada College Kinesiology Building

Forell | Elsesser Engineers provided structural engineering services for this new 85,000 sq. ft. Kinesiology & Wellness building located at Cañada Community College in Redwood City. The project includes two outdoor swimming pools, a gymnasium, health education classrooms, offices, locker rooms, shower facilities, and an occupied roof with a running track and a sunrise yoga studio with a view of San Francisco Bay. Two adjacent buildings house pool equipment and locker rooms.

Customized Solution

  • Buckling restrained braced frames were used as the lower floor to resist seismic loads. The system changes to open steel moment frames at the upper levels to provide unobstructed views out of every window.
  • Custom long-span curved steel trusses support the occupied roof over the gymnasium, providing the exposed structure as architecture.
  • The site provides beautiful panoramic views but presented many structural challenges. The soil beneath the building was very uneven and required many different foundation systems. The sloped site required tall retaining walls and the pool buildings were built right into the hillside.
  • This community college project was delivered via the progressive design/build delivery method with Blach Construction and ELS and was reviewed and approved by DSA.

UC Berkeley Bakar Bioenginuity Hub

Forell | Elsesser Structural Engineers is providing structural engineering services for the historic landmark building that formerly housed the Berkeley Art Museum. The existing building is a cast-in-place, three-story concrete structure with two sub-grade levels, and encompasses approximately 92,000 sq. ft. The restored building will be used for biomedical research for the University of California, Berkeley, and QB3. The goal for the space is to bridge the gap between UC graduate students, life science startups, and established biotech companies by providing well-equipped research space, which is typically cost-prohibitive for young companies. 

Customized Solution

  • The seismic retrofit of this incredibly complicated structure used a non-linear response history analysis to incorporate actual earthquake ground motions and non-linear properties of the existing structural elements into the design.
  • This retrofit includes new buckling restrained braced frames and foundations while utilizing as many existing building elements as possible, including the steel braced frames added in our 2001 temporary seismic upgrade project.
  • Very careful coordination was required with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trades to provide the necessary utilities for life science labs in an existing concrete building.
  • The project also includes a one-story 8,000 sq. ft. expansion to increase the amount of usable square footage.

Millbrae Recreation Center

Forell | Elsesser Engineers is providing structural engineering services for the new 24,000 sq. ft. Recreation Center for the City of Millbrae.

Customized Solution

  • The new Recreation Center will provide a flexible and vibrant facility as well as create a central hub for the Millbrae community. The center will support various activities including conference rooms, entertainment and gaming lounge, early education rooms, art studio rooms, senior activity space, and a fitness and wellness studio.
  • This project will utilize 3-ply cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels to frame the second floor and roof. The CLT panels span to steel beams, girders, and columns, creating a “hybrid” structural system. The natural color of the CLT panels will be left exposed underneath at both exterior and interior conditions. Buckling restrained braced frames are used to resist seismic forces and will greatly reduce damage to the building in a major seismic event.


Cal State East Bay CORE Library Replacement Building

The CORE building is a new 100,000 sq.ft. building that replaces the existing campus library. When completed in 2021, the CORE will become a center for learning, engagement and collaboration located at the heart of Cal State East Bay’s Hayward campus. The CORE’s 21st-century academic library will teach students how to navigate the information age economy and become self-directed learners. 

Customized Solution

  • The steel-framed building is three stories with buckling restrained braced frames to resist lateral forces and is designed to accommodate the heavily sloped site in the center of the campus.
  • The project is located adjacent to the Hayward Fault requiring a high level of seismic design and detailing.
  • Ground anchors were used at the braced frame foundations to resist large seismic uplift forces.
  • The project also includes a long-span pedestrian bridge connecting the third floor of the building with a walkway connecting to the rest of the campus at a higher elevation.