History

San Francisco-based Forell|Elsesser Structural Engineers, founded by Nicholas Forell and Eric Elsesser in 1960, is one of the most active structural and earthquake engineering firms in the Western U.S., known for providing innovative, customized solutions across all product types.

F|E was a pioneer in seismic base isolation systems now common today, and is a leader implementing new strategies such as buckling restrained-braced frames, passive damped systems, and cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a structural and aesthetic design solutions.

F|E focuses on sustainable design strategies of clients’ Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) goals including reducing embedded carbon, improving building efficiency and attaining certifications where desired such as CALGreen, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), WELL Building and Living Building Challenge among others.

Among the firm’s more well-known work on new buildings and rehab/renovation/seismic retrofit of existing and historic structures are San Francisco City Hall, Pacific Gas & Electric Headquarters, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Civic Center, Pasadena City Hall, Utah State Capital, the San Francisco International Airport Expansion and BART station, the complete renovation of the UC Berkeley California Memorial Stadium, the new SFMTA Central Subway/Chinatown Station, UCSF Parnassus Ray & Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building, and the conversion of the old UC Berkeley Art Museum into the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub for bioscience innovation.

List of Firsts:

  • First Existing/Historic Building Base Isolation Retrofit Project in the World (Salt Lake City and County Building)
  • First Tall Building Base Isolation Retrofit Project (Oakland City Hall Seismic Rehabilitation)
  • First Largest Historic Building Base Isolation Retrofit (San Francisco City Hall Seismic Retrofit)
  • First Architecturally-Exposed High Volume Fly Ash Sustainable Concrete Mix Application in California (UC Berkeley Barker Hall Seismic Upgrade)
  • First LEED Innovation & Design Credit for an Innovative Seismic System (UCSF Parnassus Ray & Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine)
  • First State of California-owned Building to Utilize Seismic Isolation Technology (Caltrans Traffic Operations/CHP Communications Center)
  • First Multi-Level Transportation Structure in the World to be designed for Immediate Occupancy following a Maximum Credible Earthquake (San Francisco International Airport Concourse H BART Station)
  • First LEED Platinum Civic Center in the Nation (Portola Valley Town Center)
  • First LEED Certified Hospital in California (Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center – LEED Silver)
  • First approval of Buckling Restrained Braced Frames (BRBF) by the Division of the State Architect (DSA) Oakland Regional Office (De Anza College Mediated Learning Center)
  • #1 Ranked State of California firm for OSHPD Structural Plan Checking (2011-2013)