U.C. Berkeley’s Maxwell Family Field and Garage to be Built on Stable SoilApr 23 2014 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN MENNINGER, Parking Structure, Seismic ·0
On the U.C. Berkeley campus, directly adjacent to the California Memorial Stadium, sits Maxwell Family Field. The existing multi-use playing field has been temporarily removed in order to build a two story parking structure and new elevated field in its place. The project will provide an updated sports field and 450 much needed parking spaces to the UC Berkeley campus. Pacific Union Development Company, with architect Gould Evans, contractor Build Group, and Nishkian Menninger, has created plans that allow this structure to be built on this challenging site.
Long ago, the site was once a creek bed. During the development of the campus, the creek was turned into a set of large culverts, and filled in to provide a flat surface. This type of loose fill makes building a seismically safe structure more difficult. Similar to the challenges of building on bay mud in San Francisco, the ground could liquefy during an earthquake, resulting in amplified forces on the structure. This condition is exacerbated by the presence of the Hayward fault, which runs just a few hundred feet away from the site.
The best way to mitigate the problems of this site, and most that are susceptible to liquefaction, is to start with improving the condition of the soil. By stabilizing the soil, the bearing capacity of the soil is increased and the effects of liquefaction are reduced. Although there are many ways to improve the soil, the best option for the Maxwell Field and Garage was Drill Displacement Columns (DDC). DDC design and construction was performed by Farrell Design-Build Inc. DDC increases the bearing capacity, reduces soil compressibility and increases resistance to liquefaction by pumping low strength concrete under pressure into the soil. The pressurized concrete forms a cylindrical column in the soil that increases the strength of the soil around it. DDC are installed without any pounding, vibration, or loud noise. Since classes were in session during the installation of the DDCs at Maxwell Field, this allowed for minimal disturbance.
Farrell Inc. was generous to provide a demonstration of their DDC work at this site. Nishkian Menninger sent a group of young engineers to watch as the DDCs were installed, and learned more about the uses and benefits of DDC ground improvement.
Ground improvement installation has now been completed, and excavation is underway. Construction of the parking garage and field will be started soon, so check back to the site for updates on this terrific project.