Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join SEAONC
April Monthly Meeting: David Blackwell Hall Case Study
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend

When: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Registration: 5:00 PM Program: 6:00 PM
Where: AIA SF
130 Sutter Street
Suite 600
San Francisco, California  94104
United States

Online registration is closed.
« Go to Upcoming Event List  

David Blackwell Hall is a recently constructed eight-story concrete student residence building on the corner of Bancroft Way and Dana Street across from the UC Berkeley campus. This sorely needed housing project, which accommodates approximately 752 students, was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architects (SCB) and was completed for occupancy in the Fall of 2018.


The project was delivered through a novel public/private partnership between the University of California and American Campus Communities (ACC), a developer specializing in student housing. This new delivery model promises a more rapid, efficient, and cost-effective way to build buildings and accommodate the increasing demand for facilities and infrastructure. The challenge for the engineering team was to design a structure that would meet both the targets for construction cost critical to the financial feasibility of the deal and the University's expectations for seismic performance and resilience.


This was accomplished by leveraging performance-based methods that relied on detailed seismic shaking simulations in order to validate the design of the structure and demonstrate that the performance targets would be met. The structural system chosen for Blackwell Hall uses post-tensioned concrete flat slabs supported on a regular grid of columns and relies on Special Concrete Shear Walls for lateral resistance. The structure is supported entirely on a shallow mat slab foundation at grade.


Because the design did not follow the prescriptive approach, the analytical models were made very elaborate to capture the effects of varying soil parameters, slab-column frame effects, and other material nonlinearities. The results of these analyses were complex and nuanced, often exposing issues that were not clearly or directly addressed in current standards. Since all of the analysis work had to be approved by an independent peer reviewer as well as the University's Seismic Review Committee, a significant part of the effort was communicating to all the stakeholders the impact of various design decisions affecting cost, performance, and architectural design.


The process of design and approval for the project led to some interesting challenges and provided key lessons for future projects using performance-based design methods. During this presentation, we will discuss how these challenges, both in communication and engineering practice, were overcome and highlight practices that can make PBD more effective in the context of institutional projects.


Mike Korolyk has been a Principal at Tipping Structural Engineers for four years. During his time at Tipping, he has increased the breadth and depth of their practice with regard to nonlinear response history analysis and performance-based design through a unique ability to identify and cultivate the connections between analysis and design. He has also developed many useful software programs that extend his company’s ability to build models efficiently, and to post-process and visualize analysis results.


Mike was an important contributor to of FEMA P-807: Guidelines for the Seismic Retrofit of Weak-Story Multiunit Wood-Frame Structures, and he developed the accompanying software, the WeakStoryTool. Last year, he and his colleagues launched a software company, Tipping Applications, to market some of the analysis software Mike has developed.


Mike earned his BS in civil engineering and his MS in structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.



Date: Tuesday. April 2, 2019 // Registration & Happy Hour: 5 PM // Program: 6 PM

Venue: AIA SF, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94104

Cost: Member: $39 // Associates: $33 // Student: $16 // Non-member: $44

2019-2020 Sponsors

Contact Us

Structural Engineers Association
of Northern California
575 Market Street Suite 2125
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415.974.5147

Mission: To advance the practice of structural engineering, to build community among our members, and to educate the public regarding the structural engineering profession.

Vision: A world in which structural engineers are valued by the public for their contributions to building a safer and stronger community.