University of California, Berkeley
Year Constructed
Year Retrofitted
Structural Engineer(s)
Original Design - John Galen Howard, Julia Morgan. Renovation and Retrofit - NBBJ
Main Contractor
Renovation and Retrofit - Turner Construction Company
Hearst Mining Building - Exterior View
Hearst Mining Building - Exterior View
Source: Wikimedia
Hearst Mining Building - Interior View
Hearst Mining Building - Interior View
Source: Joe Parks
Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

The building is recognized as one of the most significant architectural buildings on the Berkeley campus and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It is also designated as California Historical Landmark #946.  Located approximately 800 feet from the Hayward Fault, renovation of the four-story, 143,000 square foot structure utilizes base isolation and dampers to preserve the historic character of the building while creating a contemporary teaching and research facility.  The retrofit includes 134 high-damping elastomeric isolators supplied by Andre, combined with 24 fluid viscous dampers by Taylor Devices, Inc.  The base isolated building can move 28 inches in any horizontal direction. The project also involved temporary support of the existing building with “stilts” to facilitate construction of a deeper basement that could accommodate the isolation elements. The retrofit won multiple awards including a California Preservation Award and a Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) Structural Engineering Award of Excellence.

Structure Description

The Hearst Memorial Mining Building was originally designed by John Galen Howard with Julia Morgan and Samuel Christy. It was a monument to George Hearst as part of the Hearst Architectural Plan. It was built in 1907 at a construction cost of $671,000. The building was designed as a laboratory and workshop to teach technical mining processes.  Over the years, the building has evolved to become a more general center for civil engineering and minerals engineering research.  It is now the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, producing very significant research and teaching breakthroughs for materials in the semiconductor, medical, aerospace, and bio-engineering industries.  The building was retrofitted in 2003 with high-damping elastomeric isolators supplemented with fluid viscous dampers at a construction cost of $90.6 million.

  • California Preservation Award
  • SEAONC Structural Engineering Award of Excellence