2008 OCEA Finalist

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Pasadena City Hall Seismic Upgrade and Rehabilitation Project

Pasadena City HallThe Pasadena City Hall Seismic Upgrade and Rehabilitation Project, the largest capital undertaking in city history, was initiated in 2005 by the city of Pasadena, California, to repair earlier earthquake damage and seismically strengthen the city’s most important civic icon, which was constructed in 1927 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Components of this $117-million undertaking included a comprehensive program of state-of-the-art structural seismic upgrades; interior renovation; the application of new building technology; the replacement of out-dated building systems; the use of new fire safety systems; upgrades in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and the restoration of historically important facets of the structure’s interior and exterior, along with landscaped areas.


The project’s primary focus was to seismically strengthen and protect the 80-year-old building during an earthquake through a system of structural upgrades, including the installation of 240 doubly concave friction pendulum base isolators beneath the building, new shear walls, and a surrounding moat to accommodate building movement during earthquakes.


The interior rehabilitation involved new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety systems; technology upgrades; new and upgraded elevators; tactile signage; audible alarms; and ADA-compliant ramps. Interior renovations of nonhistoric spaces have provided new offices, restrooms, conference areas, floor coverings, lighting and furnishings. The areas of historical importance, including council chambers, offices and ceilings, were restored in accordance with preservation standards.


Exterior restoration refurbished original cast stone building elements, façade plaster, the courtyard fountain, copper roof cladding on the lanterns of the main dome and stair towers, exterior lighting, and landscaping.