Seismic Upgrade/Historic Preservation

The Officers’ Club – Presidio of San Francisco, CA

Geotechnical Investigation
Construction Observation and Testing Services

officers-clubAKA is proud to be the geotechnical engineer of record for the restoration and seismic upgrade of the historic Officers’ Club within the Presidio of San Francisco. In addition to the Officers’ Club, AKA is also the geotechnical engineer of record for the renovation and seismic upgrade of five nearby Presidio historic structures.
The Presidio of San Francisco was designated a National Historic Landmark District, the nation’s highest classification of historic significance, in recognition of its association with the Spanish settlement of California. Over 400 significant historic buildings are located within the military post turned national park. The 236 year old Officers’ Club, or Main Post, is one of only two adobe buildings in San Francisco making it one of San Francisco’s oldest buildings. Today, the Officers’ Club consists of the original 1776 building site constructed by the Spanish colonists with 16 major additions and changes spanning through the 1970s. The military post was closed in 1994 and the Officers’ Club has since served as the cultural and social hub of the Presidio.

As part of the efforts to re-establish the Officers’ Club as the “heart of the park,” the building underwent a comprehensive historic rehabilitation. The rehabilitation included repairing and stabilizing the original adobe and the repair, restoration, and seismic upgrades for the entire building. AKA conducted the geotechnical investigation for the restoration project and provided post-report design consultation during the plan development phase. AKA also provided construction observation services for the Presidio Trust Officers’ Club Renovation and Seismic Upgrade project. Construction for the project included partial demolition of portions of the non-historic structures and reconstruction of new building segments, two new elevators, installation of micropiles for seismic stability, and excavation of a new basement which involved soil nail and shotcrete temporary shoring as well as sequential underpinning of existing belled caissons. During construction, AKA worked closely with the design team and the Presidio Trust to make adjustments to address exposed conditions and to preserve the historic site elements.

Judah L. Magnes Museum (Harold Way) – Berkeley, CA

Geotechnical Investigation

Judah L. Magnes Museum (Harold Way) - Berkeley, CAAKA conducted two geotechnical investigations for the Judah L. Magnes Museum when they were seeking to relocate to Downtown Berkeley’s Arts District. The most recent of these followed the museum’s acquisition of the historic Armstrong College building, which was designed by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. and built in 1923. This City-designated landmark includes a dramatic second-story auditorium  that extends the entire width of the building. The proposed project included seismically retrofitting the building and auditorium space and converting the existing basement of the building into high-density museum storage. AKA’s services on the project included conducting a two-phase investigation that included reviewing existing in-house data and drilling borings to investigate soil and groundwater conditions. Based on these data AKA developed recommendations for high-capacity micropiles to resist seismic uplift and consulted on geotechnical issues pertaining to the retrofit design.

Thorsen House – Berkeley, CA

Geotechnical Investigation

Thorsen House - Berkeley, CAIn 2006, AKA conducted a geotechnical investigation for the historic Thorsen House, which was designed by the legendary southern California architectural team of Greene & Greene. The Thorsen House was built in 1909 on a sloping site that is south of Cal’s Memorial Stadium and several hundred feet from the active Hayward fault. Architectural features of note include a grand glass-front dining room designed to take advantage of commanding views of San Francisco Bay that was built atop high clinker brick basement foundation walls. The proposed project included adding new seismic moment frame surrounding the dining room window glass area and structurally retrofitting the supporting basement walls while maintaining the architectural integrity of this historic building. AKA’s services included drilling borings to investigate subsurface conditions and developing geotechnical recommendations for the retrofit design.

Shattuck Hotel – Berkeley, CA

Geotechnical Consultation

Shattuck Hotel - Berkeley, CAIn 2006, AKA provided geotechnical consultation for planned retrofits to Downtown Berkeley’s historic Shattuck Hotel. Downtown Berkeley is located on a broad plain that once included open creeks that flowed from the Berkeley Hills westward to San Francisco Bay. These creeks were filled in more than 100 years ago when the downtown area was being developed. Non-engineered fills within former creek beds are generally not suitable for the support of new structures and can also present a localized soil liquefaction hazard. The proposed project included structural upgrades to the existing five-story, block-long building, as well as a new tower built within a central courtyard that would also provide lateral rigidity to the existing hotel. AKA’s initial services on the project included reviewing information from our in-house database of geotechnical reports, geologic maps, historic maps, and local historical references. Using this information, AKA engineers were able to evaluate the locations and topography of nearby former creeks and provide the design team with preliminary geotechnical criteria for the evaluation of structural design concepts.