Pasadena City Hall Reopens After Retrofit

Posted on: July 18th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

1927 Pasadena City Hall (Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.)After an $80 million seismic retrofit and restoration, the 80-year-old city hall in Pasadena, Calif., looks just like it did when it was completed in 1927.

On July 15, the city celebrated the grand reopening of the National Register-listed building, which was closed for three years.

"Everyone's very happy with how it turned out, especially since it was on time and on budget," says Steve Marusich, project manager at San Francisco-based Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc. "The whole purpose of the retrofit was to make sure the building looks as good now as it did 80 years ago. On the courtyard side of the building, you would almost never know how much work was done."

During the project, structural engineers separated the 170,000-square-foot building from the ground with 240 rubber structures in a rare earthquake-proofing process known as base isolation.

"There are only a couple of projects in the whole state a year that are designed with that type of system," Marusich says. "It's not a very common item, although it is becoming more common."

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