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First Church of Christ, Scientist, Historic Retrofit

Seismic retrofit and risk assessment of historic reinforced-concrete Greek-Ionic-style building with 30-foot-high, 60-foot-diameter dome. 32,000 sf.

The historic First Church of Christ, Scientist, is a reinforced-concrete multi-story building located at the base of the Verdugo Mountains in Pasadena, California. The massive structure, designed in the Greek Ionic style by Franklin P. Burnham, was constructed in 1910. Although the building was technologically advanced for its time when built, it presented major earthquake risk because of its lack of ductility. Weidlinger Associates performed a site-specific ground-motion study to determine the levels of ground shaking that the building had experienced in the past and was likely to experience in the future. The firm conducted an extensive survey of the location, sizes, and condition of structural elements. A detailed three-dimensional nonlinear finite element analysis determined the unique demands put on the structural components by past earthquakes, as well as the ability of the components to resist future earthquakes. The seismic retrofit consisted of the addition of new shear walls and collector beams and the strengthening of slab-wall connections. Slabs and columns were reinforced with high-strength fiber composite material. The retrofit scheme achieved the goal of improving seismic performance without modifying the building's exterior or architectural composition or the functionality of its interior spaces.

Completion Date: 2006
Location: Pasadena, California
Owner or Client: First Church of Christ Scientist
Prime Consultant(s): Architectural Resources Group

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