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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: Barrish Pelham Consulting Engineers
Project: Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center

The Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center in Stockton, California is a complete renovation of an existing building which primarily included classroom spaces and a small auditorium.  The original wood-framed building was constructed in 1985 and had a footprint of 15,900 square-feet. After 30 years of use, the school desired to have a modern theater to host performances.  The re-designed space includes a 350 seat multi-use theater with orchestra pit, updated theater lighting, acoustics and backstage areas for the performers, along with a black box theater, and renovated lobby and classroom areas.

A total construction budget of $6,000,000 for the building required the team to carefully select materials and make conscientious design decisions.  Additionally, due to a project funding condition, the work could not expand the building footprint beyond the original size, which was difficult with current theater programs.  Space was so tight in some instances the Architect had to limit finish thicknesses to meet width clearances for the house, corridors, and ramps. 

The Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center represents a unique solution to a school's need for a modern theater facility for their students and community.  The Lincoln Unified School District is extremely proud of their new facility and will be able to enjoy this beautiful, modern building for years to come.



New Construction
Design Firm: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers Inc.
Project: Yolo Courthouse

Constructed adjacent to historic downtown Woodland, the Yolo County Superior Courthouse has significantly transformed the landscape of the downtown area. This five-story structure stands above other buildings in the area and harkens back to classic courthouse construction. The total construction cost of the Yolo County Superior Courthouse is approximately $165 million with Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc. providing the structural design for the building.

The public entrance to the courthouse features a set of four grand pillars in front of a spectacular two-story glass wall. The lobby walls are clad with a large stone system, naturally illuminated by a massive skylight. A curved grand staircase with a glass rail adorns the lobby space projecting out of the wall on one side. Traffic and family courts reside on this ground floor level. The remaining courtrooms are located on the floors above, four courtrooms per level, designed to separate the public from court staff and defendants awaiting their proceedings.

The basement level occupies approximately two-thirds of the footprint of the building. A secure steel-framed sallyport allows inmates to be transported to the facility for trial. The sallyport feeds a fully monitored detention area housing 30 holding cells for the defendants awaiting trial. Completely secure and apart from the detention component, the basement also houses the judges’ parking and building utilities.

The LEED Silver certified building is clad with an architectural precast panel system with pillars around the perimeter of the publicly accessible spaces. The precast system is unique with many specialized sizes and shapes, with reveals of different depths providing intricacy to the elevations.

A tight construction schedule was met by the flexibility of all parties to solve construction related challenges. Final construction time was 27 months, a testament to the collaboration of the entire team.

Sustainable Design
Design Firm: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc.
Project: Roseville City Hall Annex

Roseville City Hall Annex is a four-story, 82,000 square-foot precast concrete structure in Roseville, California. The building was designed in 2015 by LPAS Architecture and Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers, Inc. and built in 2016 by DPR Construction and Clark Pacific. It houses critical operations for the City as well as leasable space for Sierra College. The construction cost was $22 million.

The structure consists of shallow foundations supporting precast columns and long-span double-tee floors and roofs. A cast-in-place concrete topping slab was placed at each floor and roof. Lateral forces are resisted by Precast Concrete Hybrid Moment Frames (PHMF) which are located around the perimeter of the structure and double as the building façade.

Early in design, the Annex was envisioned as a steel structure with braced frames and a stucco finish. In an effort to provide the city with a more durable and iconic structure, a precast system was substituted which also improved the interior space flexibility by removing two rows of columns, framing, and foundations while also providing a high-performing lateral system. While the precast system carried a small premium, less than 1%, over steel structure, savings in building maintenance are expected to recoup the premium within a short time thus maximizing the owner’s return on investment.


In December 2016, the U.S. Resiliency Council (USRC) announced that this building received the first-ever Platinum Rating for Seismic Resiliency which highlights the building’s excellent seismic performance capabilities. The building’s expected performance earned 5 star (out of 5) ratings in terms of building safety, repair cost, and time to regain basic function. In addition to seismic resilience, this project achieved high efficiencies in construction through prefabricating much of the structure offsite which saved in material, time, schedule, and costs.

Historic Preservation
Design Firm: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers Inc.
Project: E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts

The historic Fremont school, built in 1923 and expanded in 1924, is a two story concrete frame with unreinforced masonry perimeter infill walls that originally had 16 by 26 foot structural bays for classroom use.  The Sacramento Ballet’s vision needed 50 foot clear spaces in the west wing.  Traditional solutions had been investigated by another firm but were prohibitively expensive and stymied the project.  B&B was brought on during the design process with the challenge to fulfill the vision within the ballet’s limited budget.  Three individuals within the firm independently and then collectively brainstormed to develop a truly innovative approach.

All 12 of the existing interior 2 story concrete columns were eliminated, and the floor load was redistributed to 4 steel columns.  The cutting-edge structural solution utilized 36 post-tensioning strands squeezed between the corridor edge beams.  Reaction beams replaced the existing columns and the strands were anchored into concrete thrust blocks increasing the span of the system from 16 to 50 feet.  The height impact was minimized to only 2½ inches, and the strand geometry was tuned so that each column’s existing load was balanced exactly when all of the strands reached their capacity.  The bright red sheathing on the strands accentuates the system and is exposed to view from the first floor studios.  We believe this solution is the first of its kind in the adaptive reuse of a historic building.

The roof over the upper floor was also originally supported on the same columns that were removed below.  62 foot long steel girders were slipped into the building through small holes in the existing roof.  These girders formed the backbone of a re-support system that transferred existing truss loads to the exterior support lines and utilized the existing perimeter structure to deliver the loads to the existing foundations.  

Landmark Structures
Design Firm: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers
Project: Golden 1 Center

Golden 1 Center, the new home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, encompasses four downtown city blocks and has proven to be a major catalyst for development in the region. The arena is an indoor multi-use facility accommodating sports and top entertainment events. Thornton Tomasetti and Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers provided structural engineering for the $558-million arena.

The façade evokes the striations of the granite of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with architectural metal panels and glazing supported by a repetitive, bent ladder-type structural steel framing system. Operable, five-story tall aircraft hangar doors at the grand entrance open the arena to the Sacramento sky to celebrate the Northern California climate, and create the only indoor/outdoor experience in the NBA. The exterior plaza extends over the top of the lower arena levels and provides public spaces to enjoy the natural landscaping, food trucks, and a variety of events.

The main roof of the arena spans a column free area approximately 395 feet by 343 feet, with primary support consisting of two queen-post trusses. A hoist platform suspends the NBA’s first in-stadium 4K Ultra HD video board—the largest in the NBA.

The practice facility, administrative offices, and central utility plant are located in an adjacent building that is structurally connected to the arena. The design team was able to use the existing precast concrete structure onsite and build the new three-story practice facility on top of it.

Golden 1 Center is the first sports facilities in the U.S to achieve LEED Platinum. A rooftop solar array and nearby solar farm provide 100 percent of the arena’s energy.

The project is a private-public partnership requiring collaboration with multiple entities. The construction timeline began in August 2014 and the arena opened on time for the first NBA game of the season in October 2016.  

Special-Use Structures
Design Firm: Lionakis
Project: Sutter 29th Street Bridge

As part of Sutter Health’ new Women’s and Children’s Center, a self-supported pedestrian crossing provides access between the roof of an existing parking structure and the second floor of the new facility. Working with the idea of creating a bridge that would evoke memories of a treehouse, the resulting structural system takes two concentric braced frames in a chevron configuration, shifts the upper work-points off center and tilts the entire frame out-of-plane. When observed from typical viewing angles, the simple structural geometry is hidden behind the skewed angles.

At the parking-structure end of the bridge, the CMU elevator tower provides a solid core to provide lateral support of the bridge as well, and appears as a solid rock anchoring part of the treehouse. The HSS framing for the landings extends off the HSS columns like branches, further expanding the treehouse aesthetic.

The detailing of this bridge is focused on creating clean details that mimic typical treehouse construction and also provide ease of construction. The main girders supporting the bridge elements are HSS members tied to the side of HSS columns, allowing the entire bridge segment is designed to be shop-fabricated and dropped onto the supporting structure in the field.

The bridge itself utilizes HSS truss members for the vertical trusses, and a horizontal deck truss for overall lateral stability. The roof of the bridge is a curved steel deck diaphragm that provides lateral stability for the top chords of the truss.

At the foundation level, the braced frames are supported by two cast-in-place drilled piers at the base of the columns and braces which extend above the sidewalk to keep the slanted columns and braces from maintaining head clearance at the sidewalk. At the CMU tower side of the bridge, a mat foundation was provided that could accommodate low soil bearing pressures and keep the foundation relatively shallow at the elevator footprint to avoid deep underground utilities.



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.