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Many SEAOCC members have been responsible for the design of complex, innovative, and award-winning projects in California and around the globe. Read on to find out about the most recent SEAOCC Excellence in Structural Engineering Award winning projects and other innovative projects designed by local firms! For more information about the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards and how to apply, please refer to our News and Awards page.

Design Firm: CYS Structural Engineers, Inc.
Project: DGS Central Plant Renovation

Project Summary: Central Plant Project Summary (pdf)
Project Presentation: Central Plant Presentation (pdf)

CYS Structural Engineers, Inc. is the SEOR for the $181 million design-build project for the DGS central plant renovation located in downtown Sacramento. This LEED platinum facility, completed in November of 2010, consists of a 140 ft tall, 4.25 million gallon thermal energy storage (TES) tank and a two-story 78,000 sf building, which replaces an outdated and inefficient central plant built in the 1960s. This new facility provides chilled water, steam and compressed air to the State Capitol and 22 other existing State-owned buildings in the Capitol Building District while using 90% less water and 58% less energy than its predecessor. The TES tank is supported by a 3 ft thick mat foundation with over 160 auger-cast piles while the main building consists of steel framed construction with buckling-restrained braces ranging from 3 square inches to 12 square inches. In addition to extensive MEP coordination and an accelerated construction schedule, major design challenges included supporting hundreds of feet of elevated water lines ranging up to 36” in diameter as well as a 1.5 million lb cooling tower above the roof level.
Design Firm: Lionakis
Project: State of California Department of Motor Vehicles Renovation and Re-skin

Project Summary: DMV Project Summary (pdf)
Project Presentation: DMV Presentation (pdf)

This recently completed project has spanned 15 years and includes a floor by floor renovation of the existing six-story DMV headquarters building in Sacramento to update the 50+ year old building and improve the work environment and workflow. The structural scope of the project included a seismic analysis and upgrade, building re-skin, new entry additions and plaza, central plant, childcare center, cafeteria and new workspace environments for each of the building’s floors, all while the building remained occupied and functioning. The seismic analysis explored alternative retro-fit options using the recently developed non-linear analysis procedures which have since evolved into ASCE 41. The final design entailed use of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) wrap elements which were surface applied to the exterior face of the existing brick pier and concrete spandrel lateral system. The FRP solution provided a cost effective design which both improved the lateral performance and minimally impacted the exterior face of the building. This in turn permitted greater ease of architectural expression and structural anchorage during the re-skin phase of construction. The project is registered with the certification goal of LEED Silver and incorporates Photovoltaic panels supported on a new 30 foot canopy extension around the existing Penthouse perimeter. This project demonstrates a successful collaboration between the client and design team to upgrade the seismic performance of a significant facility and greatly impact the architecture at this highly visible property.

Design Firm: Miyamoto
Project: 7th and H Street Housing Community

Project Summary: 7th and H Project Summary (pdf)

The 7th and H development is a mixed-use landmark affordable housing development by Mercy Housing California with 150 studio and one-bedroom apartments, extensive community spaces, comprehensive resident services, a health clinic, and ground floor commercial retail located in close proximity to multiple forms of public transit, downtown amenities, and downtown Sacramento’s Railyards Intermodal Transportation Facility. The new building was designed to incorporate many environmentally sustainable, or green, features into its goal of creating an affordable, safe and attractive housing development for the city’s homeless and low income workforce community.  In partnering with the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Mercy Housing California is helping reduce homelessness towards Sacramento’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, and creating a connection between the future Railyards development and the nearby established downtown neighborhoods.

The Z-shaped building is located on a roughly half-acre, rectangular, 150’x160’ lot and consists of post-tensioned cast-in-place two-way slabs supported by concrete columns, two robust T-shaped structural walls, and (187) 16” diameter x 51’ deep auger cast-in-place piles.  An elevated sunshade/solar array system is supported by an exposed structural-steel grid, platformed on a “butterfly” roof slab.  The half-acre site is immediately surrounded by light-rail lines to its east and south, a major electrical substation to its west, and a subsurface utility-jammed alley to its north.

Design Firm: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc.
Project: Sacramento Municipal Utilities District East Campus Operations Ceneter

Project Summary: SMUD Project Summary (pdf)

The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) East Campus Operations Center is a $111.0 million project that will relocate current corporate yard functions into a new 300,000 square foot facility on a 51acre site that includes a six-story office building, equipment repair shops, fuel, maintenance, open storage space, warehouse, and fleet parking.
The project utilizes the Design-Build method and has a LEED Platinum goal with a heavy emphasis on renewable energy sources to achieve Net Zero energy usage.  To help achieve a Net Zero energy use, the following components were included in the design:
Solar Shading and Building Envelope - Shading elements control heat gain by preventing direct sunlight from entering interior space. Structural connections for the exterior skin were designed specifically to minimize thermal bridging.
Radiant Ceiling Slab System - Radiant thermal conditioning is embedded in the overhead concrete slab. Ceiling fans, desk fans, and ventilation air are provided to supplement the radiant systems, and chilled beams are used in areas where radiant system is not used.
Photovoltaic Array - The annual output of a PV system provides 10% more than the calculated annual on-site energy needs. Solar trackers were used to optimize the efficiency.
Building Information Modeling - BIM was used as the integrating platform for the entire design and construction team. Building systems were fully coordinated prior to start of installation to reduce RFIs and field errors.
Design Firm: CYS Structural Engineers
Project: The Crocker Art Museum Expansion

Project Summary: Crocker Expansion Project Summary (pdf)

The 125,000-square-foot expansion to the historic Crocker Art Museum opened on October 10, 2010.  Designed by Gwathmey, Siegel & Associates Architects and named the Teel Family Pavilion, the expansion more than tripled the museum’s size and quadrupled the gallery space elevating the Crocker Art Museum to the level of a world-class facility.  It added spaces for an art education center, on-site collections care with art storage and conservation lab, 260-seat auditorium, catering kitchen and café, and courtyard.  The expansion also brought the museum’s first loading dock and large-capacity freight elevator. 

Like the original Crocker mansion and gallery buildings, the new addition is three stories and maintains the same height but establishes its own presence through its saw-toothed roof skylights and curved surfaces.  Inside, a two-story atrium featuring a curved balcony, similar to those in the original buildings, provides views out a 22-foot tall by 105-foot long glass curtainwall of the courtyard and the historic gallery’s western façade.

The expansion is a steel moment framed structure founded on deep augered pile foundation due to the close proximity to Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River.  The structure is designed to support 150 lb/sq ft live loads in the galleries and up to 300 lb/sq ft loads in storage areas.   The design needed to accommodate low story heights as well as the building composition which has third floor exhibit spaces and second floor heavy art storage located over the open framing of the first floor auditorium.

As part of the project, the foundation below the historic Crocker building was stabilized using pressure grouting of the soft bearing soil along the heavily loaded unreinforced masonry East and West walls.  The settlement totaled 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches that had accumulated over the building’s history.

A 3,300-square-foot single story masonry central plant building was also constructed and a portion of second street was relocated to make room for the expansion.



Highlighted Projects

Do you have a challenging, unique, or otherwise interesting design or research project that you would like to share with the SEAOCC community? We are always interested in hearing about the ways our member firms and organizations are advancing the practice of structural engineering! Please contact the SEAOCC office if you would like to see your project on this webpage.