“There is nothing typical about this building,” said Steve Carroll, project manager for Schuff Steel.

The institute is being constructed on a steep slope with an incline. The site is extremely narrow and is wedged between a winding road and adjacent buildings. The 46,283-square-foot facility is a series of four elevated connected building pods that resemble inverted pyramids with terraced grass roofs. Each of the four building pods step up nine feet higher than the next as the facility climbs up the slope at a slight angle. When complete the multi-level structure will be 65 feet wide by 600 feet long.

The main entrance to the institute is 90 feet above ground level and accessed by a freestanding elevator outside of the facility. The building can also be accessed by a 130-foot long by 90-foot high steel pedestrian bridge currently under construction that connects the institute to the ninth floor of the adjacent Health Science Building. The structure is supported by HSS steel braces, beams and 20 steel columns that bear on concrete piers.

To ensure maximum earthquake protection, Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc., the structural engineers on the project, fitted the institute with 42 Friction Pendulum seismic isolators that are located between the foundation and the structure at every anchor of the building. Seismic isolators dramatically reduce impact from seismic ground motion. They dissipate earthquake energy and significantly reduce seismic distortions that would otherwise force the building out of its original shape. Friction Pendulum bearings will allow the structure to slide 26 inches in any horizontal direction and two inches vertically to “filter” the earthquake’s movement and give the building a relatively gentle ride.

In addition to seismic isolators, Forell/Elsesser designed and collaborated with Schuff to fabricate and install a first-of-its-kind independent uplift restraint. Forell/Elsesser developed the uplift restraint to keep the building from lifting during an earthquake. The uplift restraints are positioned on the south side of the building where they will oppose the 20-foot cantilevers on the north side, which have no ground support. In the event of an earthquake once the building starts to lift, the uplift restraints will engage and hold the building down with up to 100 tons of uplift force. A prototype was tested at the University of California San Diego’s Caltrans Seismic Response Modification Devices (SRMD) test facility.

Schuff fabricated the eight uplift restraints to exceptionally demanding tolerances at its Gilbert, Arizona steel plant. Each uplift restraint is six feet square by three feet tall.

According to Mason Walters, S.E., principal at Forell/Elsesser Engineers, “We examined a number of different options to make this facility as earthquake resistant as possible. We developed the uplift restraint to augment the seismic isolators where the building juts out. During an earthquake, the uplift restraints are designed to move in the same direction as the Friction Pendulum seismic isolators until the building starts to lift at which point the uplift restraints act to hold the structure down, while continuing to allow free horizontal movement.”

To augment Forell/Elsesser’s technical drawings and further demonstrate how the uplift restraint would work, Walters actually built a model of the device in his garage.

Working closely with the university, DPR Construction and Forell/Elsesser, Schuff worked in a design-assist capacity to fabricate and plan steel erection.

According to Steve Marusich, an associate at Forell/Elsesser Engineers, “Design-build was the only way to cost effectively engineer, fabricate and erect this complex facility. It allowed the entire design and construction team the ability to arrive at creative solutions to construct the facility within budget while meeting the rigorous demands of the design and site location.”

The Institute for Regeneration Medicine is scheduled for completion in mid-2010.


Schuff Steel is a subsidiary of Schuff International, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: SHFK), a leading family of steel companies providing fully integrated steel construction services. Schuff is the largest steel fabrication and erection company in the United States. The 33-year old company constructs major projects throughout the country. Professional services include integrated steel construction services from a single source, design-build, design-assist, engineering, BIM participation, 3D-steel modeling/detailing, fabrication, advanced field erection, joist and joist girder manufacturing, project management, and single-source steel management systems. Major market segments include industrial, public works, bridges, healthcare, gaming and hospitality, convention centers, stadiums, mixed-use and retail, transportation, and international projects. Schuff International, Inc. is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. The company owns and operates nine steel fabrication plants and two steel joist-manufacturing plants. Companies include Schuff Steel Company in Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV; Schuff Steel – Pacific Division in San Diego, Newport Beach and Oakland, CA; Schuff Steel – Midwest Division in Overland Park, KS, Greenwood Village, Co and Chicago, Il; Schuff Steel – Gulf Coast Division in Humble, TX; Schuff Steel Atlantic in Orlando, FL and Albany and Buford, GA; Schuff Steel Management Company in Gilbert, AZ; and Quincy Joist Company in Quincy, FL and Buckeye, AZ. Schuff employs approximately 1,600 people throughout the country. For more information, visit https://www.schuff.com.


DPR Construction is a forward-thinking national general contractor and construction manager specializing in technically complex and sustainable projects for advanced technology, life sciences, healthcare, and corporate office markets. Founded in 1990, DPR has grown to more than $1.8 billion in annual revenue, making it one of the largest general contractors in the nation and a “great” story of entrepreneurial success. The privately held, employee-owned company serves customers nationwide and has built projects — both large and small — for such world-class companies as Apple, Bayer, Digital Realty Trust, Genentech, HCA, Kaiser Permanente, Oracle, Pixar, Rockwell International, Sun Microsystems and Sutter Health. For more information, visit http://www.dprinc.com.


Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc. is an award-winning structural and earthquake engineering firm founded in 1960. Based in San Francisco, the firm specializes in seismic and innovative engineering for new and retrofitted construction of all types, offering additional expertise in design/build, feasibility studies and cost/benefit analyses. Major seismic isolation projects include Caltrans Traffic Operations/CHP Center, Pasadena City Hall, Berkeley Civic Center, Salt Lake City & County Building, Oakland City Hall, Utah State Capitol, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, San Francisco New Main Library, San Francisco 911 Emergency Communications Center, and San Francisco City Hall. For more information on Forell/Elsesser, Engineers, Inc., visit http://www.forell.com


Ann Papagalos
Papagalos Strategic Communications
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