Track 1: Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over

General Abstract

4 - Minimally-disruptive seismic strengthening and adaptive re-use of the Hibernia Bank building

Monday, September 24
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Location: BNCC- 101AH

The Albert Pissis-designed Hibernia Bank Building, an 1892/1904 Neo-classical Revival building in San Francisco, was lauded as an architectural masterpiece when originally constructed. Abandoned for nearly 20 years after its large central banking hall ceased to provide functionality for modern day banking operations, this unreinforced masonry building in the now-reviving Mid-Market district was the subject of a recently completed rehabilitation project. Despite its long term abandonment, the extraordinary historic interiors that extend throughout the main floor, and its monumental granite block masonry exterior elevations constructed from locally-quarried granite, remained essentially intact since their initial restoration following the 1906 earthquake-caused conflagration.
The project was initiated as a seismic-strengthening and adaptive re-use project, but economics dictated that the building also be modified to accommodate assembly occupancy. From the outset, the engineering team was committed to minimizing seismic and structural interventions that might needlessly destroy historic materials, locating supplemental structure deemed to be necessary in out-of-the-way parts of the building, and using new structural elements to leverage, rather than supplant, the existing structure. The extant rocking capacity of the masonry piers and walls that allowed the bank to survive the 1906 earthquake shaking was calculated to provide approximately 50 percent of the total lateral resistance needed to comply with present-day requirements. Selective supplemental retrofits that could be added surgically to improve integrity, stability, and continuity of vulnerable structural elements --- such as center cores with specially formulated polymer grout to boost the integrity of the masonry walls --- were designed to provide the balance of the required lateral resistance. The resulting project left the interiors, including the ornamental plaster, tilework and skylights in the banking hall, historic office spaces and entrances, and the exterior granite, virtually undisturbed. Interior hollow clay tile was stabilized rather than removed.
Avoiding disruption to the historic fabric required the development of several engineering “firsts”, including cold-formed steel shear walls using steel decking, which eliminated the risks of casting concrete in historically significant spaces, and permitted the geometry of the existing space, and all decorative trim features and floor tile to be remain unchanged. These walls were also more compatible with the stiffness of rocking masonry piers than concrete shear walls. Integration of the seven existing sub-diaphragms on the roof into a coherent whole was accomplished with carbon fiber and a system of reinforced concrete collectors, bond beams and “shear tabs” that interconnect the existing roof decks by means of pre-tensioned shear friction connections that preclude slippage and preloading of the carbon fiber. The use of pre-tensioned shear friction connections to prevent preloading of carbon fiber reinforcement was necessary to salvage the existing roof diaphragm and is also believed to be a first of its kind.

Learning Objectives:

Terrence Paret

Senior Principal
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Terrence Paret is a Senior Principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) where he has worked for more than 30 years. Prior to joining WJE, he was a designer of high-rise reinforced concrete buildings in New York City. Throughout his career at WJE, Mr. Paret has focused on the assessment buildings and bridges that have collapsed or are exhibiting distress, and on the development of voluntary and code-required interventions. Historic structures projects to which he has contributed his seismic expertise include the earthquake damage and/or vulnerability assessment and repair of the Washington Monument, the Washington National Cathedral, the United Nations Secretariat in NYC, the Mauna Kea Hotel, San Francisco and Oakland City Halls. Most recently, Mr. Paret managed the seismic strengthening of two notable historic buildings in San Francisco, both constructed prior to the 1906 earthquake and both designed by Albert Pissis. Mr. Paret was the recipient of a variety of awards for his research and projects including, the 2001 Moisseiff Award from ASCE, the 2008 AISC Presidential Award of Excellence in Structural Engineering, the 2012 Oliver Torrey Fuller Award from APTI, the 2016 ICRI Project of the Year Award, the 2016 ASCE Region 9 Seismic Retrofit of the Year Award, and the 2017 Award of Excellence for Historic Preservation from the Structural Engineers Association of California. He has written or co-written more than 80 publications, the majority of which address earthquake engineering.


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David Bittermann

National Park Service

David Bittermann, AIA
Chief, Design and Preservation Planning
NPS Northeast Region - Historic Architecture, Conservation, and Engineering

David Bittermann, AIA, has served 34 years with the National Park Service, where he is currently Chief of Design and Preservation Planning for the Historic Architecture, Conservation, and Engineering Center (HACE) in the Northeast Regional Office. The center provides a variety of cultural resources services with its staff of Historical and Landscape Architects, Engineers, Architectural and Object Conservators, and Historians to 83 client National Parks in the Northeast Region, ranging geographically from Maine to Virginia. David is a former Board Member of APTNE, and for several years taught Architectural Conservation at Boston University. He received an M. Architecture degree from the University of Illinois and an MA from Boston University.


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4 - Minimally-disruptive seismic strengthening and adaptive re-use of the Hibernia Bank building

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