San Francisco, CA

California Academy of Sciences


After 90 yrs in the Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences demolished most of its eleven buildings to clear the site for a new home. As one of the nation’s leading natural history museums and research centers, the academy wanted to incorporate green roofs that would reduce energy needs, slow water runoff during storms, and lessen nearby temperatures. SGH consulted on the building enclosure design and peer reviewed the structural design for the new facility.

Designed by Renzo Piano and Stantec, the replacement building features a 2.5 acre green roof and an extensive roof garden with shallow soil, rolling knolls, a sliding space frame skylight over the entry plaza, and a concrete roof-level observation platform. SGH consulted on the waterproofing design and reviewed the structural design for the undulating roof, comprising lightweight concrete on metal deck with a hot-fluid applied monolithic membrane and more than 100 openings.


SGH consulted on the roofing, waterproofing, and exterior wall systems for the new development. We provided recommendations to improve performance, helped develop details, and assisted with construction administration to compare ongoing construction with the design intent.


We also peer reviewed the structural design on behalf of the City of San Francisco. SGH reviewed the structural engineer’s complex analytical model and performed nonlinear dynamic analysis to demonstrate acceptable behavior, despite predicted foundation rocking under seismic loads.

Project Summary



Completion Date


New Construction
Building Enclosures | Structures
Culture & Entertainment
Chong Partners Architecture, Inc. | D.R. Young Associates
Specialized Capabilities
Building Design | Seismic Engineering | Building Science | Roofing & Waterproofing

Key team members

Kenneth Klein
Kenneth Klein
Senior Principal