Lawrence Berkeley National Lab | Molecular Foundry
Berkeley, CA
Photos: Tim Hursley, R+C

Structural Engineering

100,000 sf

Key Info

  • Top 3 floors cantilever out 45 ft
  • Facility supports vibration-sensitive nanotechnology research

Rutherford + Chekene was structural engineer for the research facility, which appears to dramatically hang off of the steeply sloping hillside. The six-story building takes advantage of the sloped topography—the hill drops 70 feet vertically in 200 linear feet—by providing grade access at the lowest level and at the upper floors and utilizes a soil-nailing retaining wall combined with steel frame construction to allow the structure to cantilever. The 100,000 sf research building provides for nanoscale research and fabrication in support of the materials science, physics, chemistry, biology and molecular science programs at the laboratory. The project includes a 4,000 sf utility center with standby generators.

R+C engineers convinced the building users that the LEED aspects to the project were important. Once buy-in was achieved, an integrated team effectively addressed green features.