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UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium & Simpson Center

HNTB Architecture, Studios Architecture

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Project Description


Built in 1923, UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium is a beloved and iconic campus structure. Over the years, however, deferred maintenance and poor planning diminished its functionality and its significance. The main goals for this project were to restore the stadium’s historic and civic prominence, integrate modern training and amenity spaces, and, given the stadium’s location on the active Hayward fault line, address important seismic concerns.

The total program area required to integrate much-needed fan amenity spaces and a state-of-the-art athletic facility with a major training and academic center for football and Olympic sports was twice that of the existing space. In response to this need, a new training facility, named the Simpson Center, was built into the landscape in front of the stadium, and a new two-acre public plaza was created on its roof. This design solution freed up space in the stadium, allowing for a new concourse and amenity spaces. Skylights feed ample natural light into the open, airy spaces of the Simpson Center.

To achieve the project’s three elements—a delicate historic preservation, the addition of major new construction, and a major seismic retrofit—the structure of the stadium was removed, and the historic façade was preserved through an extensive temporary bracing system. Special structural systems were implemented to allow the two halves of the seating bowl to move separately during a seismic event.

Interior space was developed through a programming and design process that prioritized flexibility and the creation of spaces for a range of uses, including nonathletic uses. As a result, the stadium can support social and academic functions for the larger university community while also helping to relieve the pressure for development in nearby buildings.

Project Credits
Architect HNTB Architecture
Associate Architect STUDIOS Architecture
Civil Engineer Bellecci & Associates
MEP Engineer WSP Flack + Kurtz
Structural Engineer Forell/Elsesser Engineers
General Contractor Webcor Builders
Historical Consultant Knapp Architects
Landscape Architect Olin Partnership

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