Giannini Hall Seismic Corrections

Historic Preservation with Safety in Mind

Harris & Associates provided construction management services for the renovation and seismic retrofit of the University of California, Berkeley’s Giannini Hall, which will protect and preserve the historic structure named for the founder of the Bank of Italy (which eventually became the Bank of America). The light splashed entry hall and grand split staircase are filled with Art Deco details and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Giannini Hall seismic safety corrections project added new structural concrete walls and footings that were incorporated into the existing design of the building, which first opened in 1930. The project also added accessibility and life safety upgrades that have been thoughtfully designed in order to maintain the historical aspects of Giannini Hall.

Construction began in May 2019 and was completed in March 2021.

Core Elements

The building consisted of mostly office spaces with a small number of classrooms. Harris removed all of the existing steam piping and installed a new steam system along with upgrading all of the data cabling to CAT6A cabling which is 10 times faster than the original.

Beyond the Blueprints

Working on a seismic upgrade of a building nearly 100 years old brought several challenges. One of the larger challenges was the construction of a new ADA accessible elevator. The basis for the design of the elevator was a proprietary elevator from a company that did not bid the job. The elevator contractor that won the job used the hoistway dimension to provide an elevator car that would work in the opening. This elevator was not an approved elevator for California. The general contractor, along with various subcontractors, sat down with the design team and the project management team. Harris was able to change the elevator shaft size and modify some of the steel in the shaft to accommodate a non-proprietary elevator that was approved for use in California. The project team redesigned the elevator in the middle of construction without any major impact to the construction schedule.


Meet the Team

Jules Feher

Jules Feher

Senior Project Manager / Program + Construction Management

Matt Nethercutt

Matt Nethercutt

Vice President / Program + Construction Management


University of California, Berkeley


Berkeley, CA




Construction Management