Berkeley, CA

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab | Molecular Foundry


Structural Engineering


100,000 sf

Key Info

Top 3 floors cantilever out 45 ft

Facility supports vibration-sensitive nanotechnology research


Rutherford + Chekene was structural engineer for the research facility, which appears to dramatically hang off of the steeply sloping hillside. The six-story building takes advantage of the sloped topography—the hill drops 70 feet vertically in 200 linear feet—by providing grade access at the lowest level and at the upper floors and utilizes a soil-nailing retaining wall combined with steel frame construction to allow the structure to cantilever. The 100,000 sf research building provides for nanoscale research and fabrication in support of the materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, and molecular science programs at the laboratory. The project includes a 4,000 sf utility center with standby generators. R+C engineers convinced the building users that the LEED aspects to the project were important. Once buy-in was achieved, an integrated team addressed the green features and the project is certified LEED Gold.

Photographer: Tim Hursley

Walterio Lopez


Science | Technology

Leavening peerless structural engineering skill with humor, philosophy, people skills and, above all, a consummate understanding of San Francisco's permitting process, [Alan] saw this project through.