How do you engineer a building that is a work of art itself?
How do you engineer a building that is a work of art itself?

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This San Francisco landmark is designed to resist seismic forces despite 6-stories of unique floor planning, a huge drum-shaped skylight, and accommodation for heavy sculpture weight.
Customized Solution
  • The 6-story MOMA is an immediately recognizable focal point in the Yerba Buena Garden area in downtown San Francisco and houses galleries, workshops, offices, and public event spaces.
  • Perhaps the greatest engineering obstacles were found in the differences between the unique floor plans, mezzanine levels, and unusual shapes throughout the building—all of which created structural irregularities. Though the plans created a complex problem, Forell | Elsesser collaborated closely with the architect to create a simply configured structural system that would provide seismic stability.
  • Along with the signature, 35-foot diameter drum skylight which rises through an open atrium, the museum also sports 2-story high interior spaces with long-span roofs. Even with the structurally irregular floor plans and building shapes, the facility is designed to support extra weight for heavy sculptures.

Performing Arts/Museums/Libraries

  • Architect: Mario Botta Architetto Studio (design)/HOK (executive)
  • Owner: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Steel moment and eccentric braced frames
  • Free-standing central stair