LLNL Building 453 Terascale Simulation Facility

This building was designed and constructed to accommodate a high-power computing system and the extensive HVAC system required to cool it. The building was modified to allow for cooling by introducing outside air into the mechanical system. This modification will save the owner millions in operating costs.


Customized Solution

  • The existing 268,000 s.f. computer science research center was modified to provide an alternative to the existing forced-air cooling system for the computer rooms. This alternative consists of an upgrade of the mechanical cooling system to provide “Free-Air Cooling” when exterior temperatures permit.
  • The project involves providing an exterior louver system in the building’s cladding and new exhaust fans to the roof. All work was designed and coordinated to allow the facility to remain fully functional during construction.

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.

University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry

Using non-linear analysis to get the most out of the existing structure, this 1970’s office building is being transformed into a modern, urban campus with classrooms, conference rooms, and a stylish new exterior.


Customized Solution

  • Formerly used as an office building and data center, this 350,000 s.f. 7-story, steel-framed building with one level of underground parking is being renovated to become the new home for the UOP Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, plus two floors of market-rate office space. Offices, clinics, classrooms, a large auditorium, small conference rooms, new elevators, and escalators for University staff and students will be included in the extensive renovation.
  • Non-linear response history analysis has played a key role in determining how this tall building would perform in a large seismic event if much of its existing components remained. By using as much of the existing building possible, the project team significantly reduced the seismic retrofit cost so those funds could be spent elsewhere.
  • In order to insert a large new auditorium on the ground floor of the building, pairs of steel transfer trusses were inserted on the second floor to allow the removal of two columns. Per our design, the trusses were loaded and the columns were cut with almost no temporary shoring required.
  • The current window-wall exterior is being replaced, and a reworking of the building’s entry to make the entrance more visible, accessible, and inviting to pedestrian traffic is being executed.

UCSF Parnassus Ray & Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine

Situated on a steeply sloping hill, with a customized, first-of-its-kind uplift restraint system, this Design-Build project came in under the original budget and received LEED Gold accreditation.


Customized Solution

  • The 68,500 s.f. building is base-isolated, meaning it is seismically designed to move 26 inches laterally during an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 with little or no damage. Its customized steel frame and friction pendulum isolators helped to meet the “enhanced” seismic performance objectives set forth by the University, while simultaneously supporting the complex architectural design on this difficult site. In addition to seismic isolators, the project utilized a unique seismic uplift restraint system, developed specifically for this building.
  • Due to funding requirements, this project was incredibly fast-paced. As a member of the design/build team, Forell | Elsesser played a key role in maintaining the project schedule, as the design, review, and construction of various parts of the building were all happening at the same time.
  • The IPD approach created a collaborative environment between UCSF and the design/build team, keeping costs down while allowing innovation to flourish. The collaborative spirit instilled by using the IPD approach resulted in not only a unique, dynamic facility but also a savings of more than $20M off the original design-bid-build price tag of the project.