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MEDIA ADVISORY: Making a 95-year-old landmark able to withstand major quake


10 January 2002
Contact: Christine Shaff, Capital Projects
(510) 643-4793


The University of California, Berkeley's Hearst Memorial Mining Building, nearing completion of an unprecedented seismic retrofit and renovation, will reach a major milestone with the removal of its final temporary foundation support.

Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl will ceremonially flip a switch that will initiate the removal of the last temporary support. This will leave the historic building entirely supported by a foundation of base isolators. These isolators will allow the 95-year-old unreinforced masonry building to move two feet in any horizontal direction to dissipate energy caused by an earthquake, an important consideration for the building that lies just 800 yards from the Hayward Fault.


2 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11.


Hearst Memorial Mining Building, UC Berkeley. Enter campus from the East Gate.


Campus officials, as well as representatives from the architectural, engineering and construction firms involved with the project.


The Hearst Memorial Mining Building is a four-story, 135,000-square-foot building. Completed in 1907, it is considered one of California's most valuable architectural and historic resources and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The unreinforced masonry building was also one of the most vulnerable buildings on campus to earthquake damage. The use of base-isolation was pioneered by UC Berkeley engineers more than 20 years ago. It is an increasingly common method of protecting buildings against earthquake damage.

The grand building was designed by John Galen Howard in 1902. The three-year renovation project has restored original courtyards and added two modern additions to the north side of the building. Originally the home of the College of Mining and Metallurgy, the building will house new laboratories for the College of Engineering's Materials Science & Engineering Department and a nanoscience center.

The UC Berkeley Office of Capital Projects is managing the project. Turner Construction is the general contractor, NBBJ is the executive architect, Rutherford & Chekene is the structural engineer.