Kaiser Permanente San Mateo Medical Offices

With a fast-paced schedule, this design/build project utilized an innovative framing system that shortened the building schedule by two weeks.


Customized Solution

  • This new 3-story, 66,000 s.f. medical office building utilizes the new moment frame system by ConXtech. Erected in under a week, without any field welding or field weld inspections, this system provided an economic and very flexible floor plan unencumbered by braces or structural walls. The innovative use of this new system also provided significant savings by shortening the construction schedule by approximately 2 weeks.
  • Originally a design-bid-build project, the model shifted to a design/build project during the design phase, thus accelerating the schedule. During this transition, Forell | Elsesser’s flexibility and efficient design practices helped to deliver a project that was on schedule and on budget.

Pasadena City Hall Seismic Retrofit

The LEED Gold Certified rehabilitation of this 1927 historic landmark included cost-effective seismic isolation, modernization of plumbing and electrical systems, and the addition of a new building with a connecting underground tunnel, all without altering the building’s historic integrity.


Customized Solution

  • The City of Pasadena had two primary goals for the seismic upgrade of their City Hall: to limit the intrusion of the new seismic upgrade into the significant historic elements of the building and to minimize the amount of damage anticipated after a major earthquake. To address both needs, friction pendulum isolators were placed between the foundation and basement. They were positioned on an off-grid system with one isolator in the center of four columns, thus supporting the entire square rather than one isolator per column. This innovative technique both minimized costs and increased construction efficiency.
  • Forell | Elsesser benchmarked performance analysis against data obtained from the Northridge earthquake, showing that much of the historic non-structural elements were sound and did not require repair, thus keeping costs down.
  • Shear walls were installed on the East end of the building’s wings, and a replacement of the deteriorating arcade with a utility tunnel running underneath structurally tied the building’s two wings together. The project also included the modernization of Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing systems, necessitating the redesign of structural systems to accommodate the new weight and space requirements of these energy-efficient additions.

Laguna Honda Hospital & Rehabilitation Center

The project scope included a new, 140,000 s.f., 4-story pavilion building, and the seismic strengthening and remodeling of additional existing wings totaling 80,000 s.f.  The pavilion creates a physical and functional link between the hospital’s new residential towers and the original 1920s hospital buildings. This LEED Silver project is the first LEED Certified hospital in California and the first LEED-certified nursing facility in the nation.


Customized Solution

  • Forell | Elsesser provided complete engineering services for the design and detailing of the tall retaining structures at either end of the pavilion which enabled the continued function of the undermined existing adjacent structures throughout construction.  A monitored tangent pile tieback system was used to allow for a 30-foot vertical excavation immediately adjacent to an existing residence hall.
  • The flexible steel EBF brace lateral system was designed to work with the concrete shear walls present at either end of the structure where the pavilion is buried in the rising sides of the valley.
  • The rehabilitation of the existing wings was detailed to minimize the impact on the existing structure and maximized the use of the historic reinforced concrete structural elements.  During construction, the opportunity was taken to repair and restore in-place existing deteriorated concrete framing.