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California Tower Seismic Retrofit

October 29, 2021
California Tower Seismic Retrofit
Designed by Bertram Goodhue and built for the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition, the California Tower stands as a significant historical landmark in San Diego. The tower and the adjoining California building have been welcoming visitors on public tours since its opening in 2015. This iconic structure is over a century old and continues to attract locals and tourists alike.

From the Ground Up

Retrofitted to comply with the latest building codes and State Interior Standards for historic buildings, all ten floors of the California Tower in Balboa Park underwent a meticulous restoration. Soltek, employing state-of-the-art Ground Penetrating Radar, scanned the existing concrete, identifying rebar locations without compromising the original reinforcement. The excavation process, delving 7 feet deep, exposed the tower's columns to install a 3-foot concrete footing between them. The new Dywidag anchors were strategically placed using information derived from the radar analysis. Following the retrofit, the shotcrete application was meticulously painted with a special plaster mix to replicate the century-old plaster's original color. The project's complexity was heightened by the need to perform multiple activities simultaneously within the confined workspace inside the tower.

Project Scope

This extensive restoration project encompassed the historical ornamentation of the California Tower in Balboa Park and associated building repairs. Soltek's expertise in historic renovation was showcased through the meticulous deployment of scaffolding for the elevated exterior façade. Despite the museum remaining occupied and open during the renovation, Soltek implemented measures to protect the general public around the scaffolding and worksite. Working at heights ranging from 100' to 180' above ground, Soltek ensured the tower was authentically restored to its original aesthetic, preserving its cultural significance for future generations.

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