San Jose State University – SRAC

San Jose State University is a booming metropolitan university based in Silicon Valley. Established in 1857, it is the oldest public university on the West Coast and founding campus of the California State University system. San Jose State University’s new Student Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC) heralds the university’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art athletic amenities that promote active, healthy living for ~40,000 Spartans and faculty members. The SRAC is centrally located on the main campus and is comprised of a 120,000 SF gymnasium and 40,000 SF outdoor aquatics deck supporting two 50-meter pools. Additional amenities include weight and fitness studios, an indoor track, full basketball, badminton and volleyball courts, a rock climbing wall, and locker rooms.

Holmes Fire provided a tailor-made fire and life safety strategy for the project, working closely with the architect from a code consulting standpoint to accommodate two-story atria, egress paths across expansive mixed-use floor plans, and recreational deck occupancy. Holmes Fire also gained approval from the state fire marshal for a cost-effective alternative solution that addressed protection of the building’s HVAC system. Holmes Fire was further involved during the construction phase, providing fire and life safety guidance and addressing the state fire marshal’s comments and issues that arose during the inspection process.

Seattle University Center for Science & Innovation

The Center for Science and Innovation will feature a new five-story gateway building—equipped with future-focused classrooms, research laboratories, a public maker space, assembly areas, and administrative offices. The center will be a scientific hub on campus where every SU undergraduate will take core science classes. The focus on hands-on, experiential amenities will inspire the exploration of new technologies.

Holmes Fire was engaged to provide smoke control design for the building and worked closely with the design team and authorities having jurisdiction to accommodate its five-story atrium. Conventionally, building codes limit atria to three stories. Through alternate means and methods and performance-based engineering, Holmes Fire designed and obtained approval for an atrium smoke control system that will safely protect occupants in case of a fire. This smoke control system was optimized to solely rely on automatic opening exterior doors for air supply, which eliminated reliance on mechanical ducts while supporting the architectural vision for the interior and exterior facade.

Beautiful wood furniture and stairways will be located at the base of the atrium. The smoke control system was developed based on a worst-case fire scenario involving these key architectural elements. Procedural requirements were developed to allow these items to be located within the atrium.

Live Oak School

The building housing Live Oak School was originally constructed in the 1930s and was for many years used as a Hills Brothers Coffee plant. Oak School originally occupied the western half of the building. To support its growing enrollment, the school is expanding into the building’s eastern half.

Holmes Fire provided fire and life safety code consulting for a rare scenario: the client technically occupied two addresses in a complicated building with educational and office spaces. Holmes Fire evaluated the impacts of expanding into the formerly unoccupied wing, with the additions of classrooms and a large ground-floor cafeteria. Our team ultimately helped these areas meet egress requirements and fire & life safety upgrades, while also facilitating the permitting of a new rooftop sports court.

Holmes Structures provided schematic design services for the school’s Master Plan and is currently designing tenant improvements for Phase 2 of the expansion. Holmes Structures also completed an ASCE 41-13 seismic evaluation of the four-story reinforced concrete building. The design of a seismic retrofit, which will allow the School to obtain an “Education” occupancy for the building’s eastern half is ongoing. The efforts undertaken by Holmes Structures and the school will meet provisions of the recently-adopted Private Schools Earthquake Safety Act.



This historic nine-story building was constructed in 1904 with unreinforced masonry and a terracotta facade. 1095 Market survived San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake as well as the subsequent fires that consumed the building’s interior. Previously an office building, this high-rise underwent a change-of-use to become a hotel with retail and assembly space on the ground floor and roof levels.

Holmes Fire’s fire protection upgrade strategy allowed a historic staircase connecting seven levels to remain open for egress purposes, increasing the building’s floor area while maintaining natural lighting.

Holmes Structures undertook undertook the seismic retrofit of this historically significant structure, bringing it up to current code without impacting its defining masonry facade. Minimal concrete shear walls fit discretely within the original layout of the building, preserving the original hallways and interior spaces. The structure was reinforced with concrete walls and diaphragm overlays.


Dropbox recently expanded its headquarters to occupy and remodel two office buildings into a stimulating workspace in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood. This move combined all San Francisco employees (roughly 1,500 people) under one roof, and the interior remodel resulted in a network of collaborative workspaces with personality and playful aesthetics. For example, the library has an airy cultured look inspired by Italian opera houses for studious escape. Alternatively, the “Deep Focus” room channels concentration through clean curvilinear forms and meditative glowing chambers.

Holmes Fire addressed the large occupant load in the dining and training areas that did not have a sufficient number of exits in the original design. By devising an alternate exiting strategy and collaborating with the SF Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) and Fire Department (SFFD), these areas were able to maintain their intended use without any major disruptive construction.