Quake Proofing a Palace

by John Casey, Assistant Editor; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., NY, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 8, Pg. 32-35

Document Type: Feature article


A $36.5 million renovation of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor included a two-level underground expansion on a very sensitive site and the largest-ever seismic retrofit for a museum. The Legion of Honor, as designed by George Applegarth and constructed in the early 1920s, is a U-shaped, concrete-frame structure with hollow clay-tile infills forming the exterior walls and some interior partitions. The building, which houses an art museum, was constructed to honor Californians who lost their lives in World War I. A 1988 seismic study by GFDS Engineers, San Francisco, warned of extensive structural damage and possible collapse of the structure in a major earthquake. The building's irregular roof line, HCT construction and multiple skylight openings meant that it lacked adequate structural integrity to withstand strong ground shaking.

Subject Headings: Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Public buildings | Renovation | Rehabilitation | Concrete | Soil structures | Clays | California | United States

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