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Berggruen Institute

Santa Monica, CA
  • Image credit: Herzog & de Meuron.

This new complex for a non-partisan think tank will consist of three campus buildings – a private residence, a “scholar’s village,” and the main institute building – all contained within a linear landscaped plinth. The institute’s primary structure consists of two major components: a frame and a sphere. The frame is an elevated 2-story pile-supported structure with long-spanning concrete Vierendeel trusses with significant cantilevers. The 65-foot-wide sphere will serve as a forum for larger gatherings.

Recognizing the benefits of a lightweight structural system in a high seismic zone, the design team considered mass timber options during concept design.

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Mass timber concept design

For the primary structural scheme of the institute’s elevated frame, Silman studied a scheme consisting of CLT panels spanning between glulam members supported on CLT wall panels.

Mass timber concept design

For the primary structural scheme of the institute’s elevated frame, Silman studied a scheme consisting of CLT panels spanning between glulam members supported on CLT wall panels.

The design moved forward with a cast-in-place concrete system, but mass timber will still be utilized for infill floors and mezzanines within the concrete frame. During schematic design, Silman presented structural options including several combinations of walls, moment frames, and braced frames.

As Engineer of Record, Silman has provided structural engineering services for this project in collaboration with Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), leveraging the latter’s west coast presence and familiarity with local jurisdictional requirements.

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