California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, CA
Photos: Steve Proehl (aerial), R+C

Geotechnical Engineering

Key Info

  • Incorporation of existing walls
  • Cost-cutting measures


Rutherford + Chekene was geotechnical engineer-of-record for the construction of a new facility that virtually matched the previously existing facility in footprint area. The design incorporated the north and east walls of the old African Hall into the façade of the new building. The new building has a split-level basement. Geotechnical highlights include the development of spring stiffnesses in collaboration with the structural engineer to justify eliminating tiedowns from the design and to allow the building to rock. The owner’s representative was willing to allow the use of preliminary findings from the NGA project to justify a reduction in the ground motion obtained using site response analysis—this was a cost-cutting measure recommended by R+C.