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General Purpose Laboratory (GPL) - Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Key Features

  • 43,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's hillside campus

  • LEED Gold rating 

  • Project included a central utilities plant (CUP) and a widened roadway, both adjacent to steep slopes 

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 

  • Near-surface soils include undocumented fill materials associated with previous onsite construction 

  • Adjacent redwood trees required protection 

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 founded in rock below existing near-surface undocumented fill 

  • Developed foundation support recommendations for the CUP and widened roadway that included design criteria for drilled piers in sloping ground conditions 

  • Provided recommendations for thinner full-section asphalt paving to minimize disruption to shallow redwood tree roots 

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