Building Structures- Case Studies & Concepts

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342910 - The Tallest Modular Tower Design Utilizing a Performance Based Approach

Friday, April 20
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: 203BC

The Tallest Modular Tower Design Utilizing a Performance Based Approach

1) Randall Miller, PE, Chief Executive Officer, RAD Urban
2) Hessam Kazemzadeh, PE CEng MIStructE, Director of Engineering, RAD Urban
3) David Tse, Project Engineer, RAD Urban

2044 Franklin St. Tower in Oakland, CA, when completed in 2018 will be the tallest structure in US utilizing Volumetric Modules as an alternative to conventional construction methods. A vertically integrated team of AEC professionals in collaboration with manufacturing experts designed a modular system suitable for a mixed-use tower of this size. The structural engineering team developed a unique structural system comprising steel plate shear wall core supplemented with BRB outriggers to provide a ductile response to severe West Coast earthquakes. This structural system not only integrated well with the architectural and real estate requirements, but also helped to maximize the work in the factory and to minimize the on-site labor work.

The use of Performance-Based Design in conjunction with full-scale testing of some of the critical structural components helped to establish a compatible lateral story drift ratio of up to 2.75% at MCE level for the modular gravity space frame. The primary energy dissipation mechanism is envisioned to be a combination of steel plate shear wall’s post-buckling tension field action and BRB yielding. The proposed structural system translated to substantial material savings up to 30% and improving the construction speed by 6 months compare to traditional structural systems and construction methods.

Hessam Kazemzadeh

Director of Engineering
RAD Urban

12+ years of extensive work experience in tall building design industry including project management, design engineering, design management and construction supervision roles. International project portfolio including Europe, United States, Asia and the Middle East, where I have led teams, managed project scope and collaborated with multi discipline parties to deliver complex projects efficiently, on time and on budget. Results oriented and collaborative leader conversant in real estate financial analysis, lean project management and project execution. Licensed Professional Engineer in California, and Licensed/Chartered Structural Engineer in United Kingdom.


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Randall Miller

RAD Urban



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David Tse

Project Engineer
RAD Urban

David is a recent graduate from Stanford University with a M.S. in Structural Engineering & Geomechanics. He is currently supporting the structural engineering of modular mixed-use buildings in Berkeley and Oakland via performance-based earthquake design. In addition to structural engineering, he is conversant in computer programming and materials engineering.


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342910 - The Tallest Modular Tower Design Utilizing a Performance Based Approach

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