Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center

With an energy-efficient design, this DSA approved Performing Arts Center provides acoustically separated rooms, exposed structural elements, and a full-performance theater with a moveable orchestra pit.


Customized Solution

  • This new facility includes a 500-seat full performance theater, a 150-seat black-box theater, catwalks, scene shop, studios, and rehearsal spaces. Perhaps the greatest engineering challenge was the full performance theater with its massive counterweight system, located in the fly tower, which controls large moveable sections of the theatrical space.
  • Even with exposed concrete and steel structural elements throughout the building, Forell | Elsesser helped create acoustic separations between rooms, as it was essential for sound to be contained between each performance/rehearsal space. In addition to these sound requirements, the project team met the rigorous plan checking of the Division of State Architect (DSA).
  • The building design uses passive systems including natural daylighting in perimeter spaces as well as natural ventilation within the corridors and lobby to increase energy efficiency.

Foothill Community College Physical Sciences & Engineering Center

Customized Solution

  • Forell | Elsesser provided structural engineering services for the new 57,000 s.f. four-building PSEC complex that includes a new laboratory building, a commons building, and two classroom buildings.
  • The laboratory building is a 2-story, 36,000 s.f. classroom facility with the first floor partially below grade.  Concrete shear walls serve as the seismic force-resisting system on the lower story, and special steel concentrically braced frames serve as the seismic force-resisting system on the upper story.  The commons building is a 1-story building with an area of approximately 8,000 s.f. The classroom buildings are two 1-story structures with an area of 13,000 s.f.  The buildings are structural steel with steel deck without concrete fill.   The lateral force resistance is provided by a combination of special steel moment frames and braced frames.

City College of San Francisco Chinatown/North Beach Campus

One of the largest buildings ever reviewed by DSA, this urban “vertical campus” serves up to 6,500 students and is seeking LEED Gold Certification.


Customized Solution

  • With a 14-story tower and an adjacent 4-story educational building, this urban campus accommodates a growing student population by providing 42 classrooms and laboratories, administrative offices, a teaching kitchen for culinary studies, a community auditorium, and a cafe.
  • This 194,000 s.f. building is one of the largest to go through the rigorous plan checking required by the Division of the State Architect (DSA), while additionally employing sustainable design practices.
  • Forell | Elsesser, in association with Structus, worked closely with the construction team during the site excavation, as the urban site is surrounded by adjacent buildings. The team had to be particularly careful in the placement of these heavy concrete buildings with varying soil conditions throughout the area.