December 19, 2014
The December issue of Structure Magazine featured the East Station Plaza Danseurs, an SGH project which won the 2014 NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering for Outstanding Project, Other Structures.
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The City of Union City, California sought to develop a civic plaza to the east of the Union City BART station in 2011. The vision for the project included a centerpiece – a terraced fountain with three bronze sculptures “Danseurs” – on platforms positioned within the fountain. The sculptures were fabricated in France and identified and purchased before the design of the fountain commenced. At a pre-proposal meeting, the architect expressed concerns about the seismic performance of the sculptures, as the fountain would be built 0.6 miles northeast from the Hayward fault. Given the very tall and slender stature of the sculptures, it was clear that the sculptures could be expected to collapse at the first sign of shaking. With that in mind, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger suggested mounting the sculptures on base-isolated platforms; put them on a suspension with springs and shocks to reduce the lateral forces on the sculptures. This was the only scheme that had a chance of protecting the sculptures without obtrusive and objectionable external bracing. Through the use of isolated platforms, we were able to provide the architect and City with an elegant solution to protecting their civic sculptures from earthquake damage for future generations.