Oakland City Hall
Peer Review of Base-Isolation Retrofit
Oakland, California

City of Oakland

Oakland City Hall is a landmark high-rise unreinforced masonry-infilled steel frame constructed in 1914. This historic building is the operational center of City government as well as the architectural centerpiece of the Oakland Civic Center area.

As a result of damage caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, dozens of buildings on soft soils in Oakland were damaged to the point that they were considered hazardous. Among them, Oakland City Hall was “red-tagged” and evacuated.

  • Program development
  • Ordinance criteria development 
  • Hazard abatement 
  • Structural evaluation 
  • Peer review

  • Assisted the City in the structural evaluation of the inventory of “red-tagged” buildings to assess the severity of damage and identify buildings that posed an imminent hazard 
  • Assisted the City in developing criteria for the Oakland Earthquake Damage Repair Ordinance and in the application of that ordinance 
  • Assisted the City in developing a hazard abatement program and in estimating costs associated with abatement 
  • Consulted with the City to aid in development of a hazard mitigation plan for undamaged unreinforced masonry buildings 
  • Headed a peer review committee and conducted a structural plan check of the repair and seismic strengthening of Oakland City Hall 
  • Worked closely with the design engineer throughout the design process and performed independent state-of-the-art evaluation of a performance-based design, emphasizing the interaction of the new structural system with historic materials 
  • Successfully completed the peer review
  • When construction was completed, Oakland City Hall became the tallest building ever to be base-isolated

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