Build Change Haiti Reconstruction Effort

By providing prototype designs for safer buildings while keeping the specific construction practices of the region in mind, Forell | Elsesser and Build Change have provided Haitians with viable, buildable solutions for a fresh and safer start.


Customized Solution

  • In partnership with Build Change, Forell | Elsesser provided two of five potential housing structure prototype designs to aid Haitians in their effort to rebuild with stronger, more seismically resilient structures.
  • Taking into account existing construction practices in Haiti, the project team created a 1 to 2-story reinforced masonry house and a multi-story commercial/residential building. The designs accommodated local building standards specific to Haiti like the hand mixing of concrete, the bending of steel by hand, and the cost of concrete as a limitation on its use. Different variations of the designs were developed for different soil conditions, and both structures were designed to allow for the addition of a top floor later, as it is common practice there.
  • The design included a full set of layout plans and details, structural narratives, and construction cost estimates for both building types. These documents will be distributed by Build Change to the Government of Haiti and to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) working in the country to use as a basis for the preparation of construction drawings.

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.