How do you maintain a church’s picture-perfect façade while giving it inner strength?
How do you maintain a church’s picture-perfect façade while giving it inner strength?

Saints Peter & Paul Church Seismic Retrofit

The iconic soaring bell towers of this 90-year old church were strengthened to ensure that they will continue to grace North Beach well into the 21st century.
Customized Solution
  • Forell | Elsesser was the prime consultant for the strengthening of the soaring towers of this iconic San Francisco church.  The primary scope of the project was the seismic strengthening of the two 1920’s towers that were identified as potential collapse hazards.  Our role as the structural engineer/prime consultant reflected the fact that the majority of the work was performed in areas of the church with only limited occupancy.  Nevertheless, the highly visible and historic nature of the prominent towers required careful and creative structural solutions, which were developed by working closely with our architectural consultant.
  • Forell | Elsesser’s responsibilities also included shepherding the project through the City approval process, and working closely with the Owner’s cost estimator, assisting the Owner in selecting a list of invited Contractors for bidding, and the review of Contractor change order requests.
  • As part of the evaluation of the tower structures, Forell | Elsesser developed a complete three-dimensional analysis model which includes the towers as well as the main church and school building which are structurally integral.

Historic Renovation

  • Architect: Architectural Resources Group
  • Owner: Archdiocese of San Francisco
  • Selective use of concrete shear walls and steel struts to minimize the visual impact of the strengthening
  • A steel bird cage was carefully positioned behind the upper tower cupolas to provide a new lateral system while maintaining the original appearance of the cupolas