Chu Hall - UC Berkeley

Key Features


  • 40,000 gross square foot building housing research laboratories and offices devoted to nanoscale photovoltaic and electro-chemical solar energy systems

  • LEED Gold rating

Geotechnical Challenges

  • Complex geologic setting with highly-variable volcanic and sedimentary rocks and adjacent steeply-sloping ground

  • Geologic stability of volcanic rock mass that directly underlies site needed to be confirmed 

  • Excavation cuts on two sides of sloping site required shoring 

  • Complex and variable groundwater regime documented in long-term monitoring of environmental wells 

Innovative Solutions


  • Coordinated a detailed engineering geologic study that included deep borings and exploratory trenches to confirm geologic stability 

  • Developed recommendations for cost-effective spread footing foundations embedded in variable volcanic rock 

  • Developed recommendations for wall backdrainage and slab underdrainage to mitigate the potential for groundwater rise and high groundwater flows to impact below-grade construction 

  • Conducted detailed onsite observations of rock exposed in site excavations to verify stability and adequate bearing