Stanford University, Public Safety Building

Category: Learn, Work
Palo Alto, CA

Located near the northeastern edge of Stanford’s campus in Palo Alto, CA, this new complex consolidates all of the university’s public safety services under a single roof. Such services include police and emergency response personnel, the Stanford Department of Public Safety, and the Stanford Department Operations Center. The main 29,000-square-foot, two-story essential services building includes offices, staff support spaces, prisoner processing, evidence collection, and storage.

The main structure is steel-framed with 13-foot floor-to-floor heights and two single-story “wings,” all supported on isolated shallow concrete footings interconnected with tie beams. At the floor and roof levels, composite open web steel joists are used as the primary framing system to accommodate 50-foot clear spans and allow for a column-free interior. The floor framing is designed for office walking vibration criteria per an American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) design guide.

The main building’s seismic force-resisting system is composed of steel special moment frames. Prequalified, proprietary SidePlate bolted connections were used to speed erection time and minimize field welding. At moment frame bays, buckling-restrained braces (BRBs) serve as metallic dampers to limit frame deformations and maintain elasticity under a design-level earthquake.

Stanford University’s requirements dictated that the structural design must conform to the Stanford Seismic Engineering Guidelines (SEG). These guidelines outline a performance-based design approach and call for peer reviews to occur throughout the design phases. This structure was designated as “Emergency Response Critical” and was designed for immediate occupancy following an earthquake. Using ASCE-41, the national standard for the seismic evaluation and retrofit of existing buildings, conformance to the requirements of the SEG was confirmed.

ZFA also designed three smaller, single-story non-essential structures on the site. Structure B is 2,000 square feet and houses shops for vehicle repair, motorcycle repair, and sign production. Structure C is a storage building measuring approximately 2,100 square feet and includes a specialty roof and covered canopy for bicycle and motorcycle storage. Structure D is a small, enclosed utility yard.

Photo Credit: Photo ©Kyle Jeffers

Size 32,000 sf
Completed 2021
Construction Cost $25.5M
Architect Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architecture
Contractor Level 10 Construction
Owner Stanford University