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Blue & Gold Day Aug 30: Cal stadium engineer to speak

Even if you’re not a fan of Cal football, you’ll have something to cheer about when David Friedman, the UC Berkeley engineering alum behind the retrofit of Cal’s Memorial Stadium, visits UCOP.

The senior principal at Forell/Elsesser Engineers of San Francisco will give a talk, The Seismic Safety Corrections of California Memorial Stadium: A 14-year Project Presented in 60 Minutes, Thursday, Aug. 30, 12 to 1 p.m. in Franklin Lobby 1 Conference Room. The event is part of the ongoing President’s Speaker Series.

Cal stadium during construction

Before: UC Berkeley's California Memorial Stadium in the early phases of construction

Friedman is lead engineer on the renovation of California Memorial Stadium, which is preparing to debut right on schedule for the Cal Bears opener against Nevada this Saturday, Sept. 1.

President Mark Yudof has declared Aug. 30, the day of Friedman’s visit, Blue and Gold Day. So be sure to wear your UC colors, Cal caps or any other paraphernalia that will help UCOP show its “Go Bears!” spirit.

Friedman will speak about how he and his engineering team approached the retrofit of the 1923 structure, which straddles the Hayward fault.

They designed a custom solution that involved breaking the seating bowl into sections where the fault crosses, so that these portions move independently of the rest of the structure. The design also features a new press box that can sway up to 12 inches in a large temblor and shock absorbers to prevent the box from crashing into the western seating bowl.

After: Cal's Memorial Stadium near completion

After: The stadium on Aug. 7, as it nears completion (photos courtesy David Friedman)

The stadium was originally designed by John Galen Howard to resemble the Roman Coliseum. That was long before anyone realized it was situated on a major fault stretching more than 40 miles through the East Bay that seismologists say is due anytime for a 6.8- to 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

Forell/Elsesser has been working on seismic corrections to the stadium since 1998, and it has engineered rehabilitations of Berkeley Civic Center and San Francisco’s City Hall and Asian Art Museum. Friedman, who has a 40-year career as a structural engineer, is also chair of Forell/Elsesser’s Board of Directors and immediate past president and CEO.

The President’s Speaker Series, “On California,” was initiated by President Yudof last year to showcase the talent and public contributions of UC faculty, alumni and other prominent Californians in the areas of education, policy/politics and research.

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