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Posted by Alan Burr, SE, MIStructE on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seismic Retrofit at Historic Fort Baker

In-depth material investigations and detective work are often used by structural engineers as part of the structural engineering design process for the rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of historic buildings. Material investigations, both destructive and non-destructive, are used in testing and inspection programs to determine how old buildings are constructed and the properties and composition of the materials used. Engineers are also part detective when tracking down copies of old drawings and construction documents, often archived away in basements or City records.

For the design of the Historic Cavallo Point project at Fort Baker Sausalito, these methods were essential in helping to determine the original construction of the old buildings. Archaic materials used in the original buildings included old-growth timber, unreinforced brick and stone masonry and cement plaster walls. As historic fabric these materials were maintained and used as much as possible in the retrofit design of the buildings.

Originally built between 1901 and 1910, Fort Baker served as a military outpost protecting the north end of the San Francisco Bay. The original site consists of 25 historic army buildings centered around a 10 acre main parade ground. Of the historic buildings that currently remain, 18 of them were carefully chosen to be rehabilitated as a part of the Cavallo Point complex. The historically restored buildings include wood-framed officers’ quarters, unreinforced masonry barracks and bowling alley, a wood-framed chapel and a concrete munitions storage facility.


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