San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building Seismic Upgrade & Improvements

San Francisco

Owner San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center
Lead Designer, Structural Engineer Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Architect San Francisco Public Works
Contractor Charles Pankow Builders Ltd.
Civil Engineer Weiss Associates
M&P Engineer SJ Engineers
Electrical Engineer Glumac
Consultants Carey & Co.; The Preview Group; RLS; Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

The War Memorial—comprised of the Veterans Building and the Opera House, both Beaux-Arts structures built in the 1930s—houses a theater and office space. In 1945, the complex hosted the United Nations Charter signing. During this project, the first major renovation of the structure, the team used a performance-based approach to upgrade seismic stability and repair significant damage sustained during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The design included new rocking concrete shear walls around the theater core to eliminate the need for deep foundations and reduce the shear force imparted to each wall. Historically important murals created along the theater’s side walls were carefully protected and preserved during construction. New structural-steel bracing provides additional support across the building’s large skylights. Crews also replaced all mechanical and electrical systems and made many other improvements.

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