New Home for Beloved Museum
San Francisco, United States
San Francisco’s Exploratorium relocated to Piers 15 & 17 on the Embarcadero. The existing Pier 15 building is a historic structure and required substantial renovation to support exhibit space, a 250-seat theater (Kanbar Forum) and office facilities. The site constraints of the pier coupled with interactive exhibits created some unique design challenges: for example, the existing 840-foot pier required innovative problem-solving for egress, smoke containment, and fire fighting solutions.
Holmes Fire developed a Performance-Based Engineering (PBE) design to meet the goals of a free-flowing open space, and to facilitate an interactive visitor experience. The solution for minimal internal fire separation of the building floor area achieves greater functionality and safety. The analysis demonstrated that building occupants are able to evacuate the building and the pier. The alternative design permitted the building to function as a single large open compartment with a fire protection strategy tailor-made for the use and occupancy of the building.
Holmes Structures provided the structural peer review of the pier’s seismic upgrade.