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Cal Poly Engineering IV


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Foundation System


Geologic Hazard(s)

  • Soft/Loose Soil


San Luis Obispo, CA


Cal Poly - California State University

Geotechnical Engineer

GSI Soils

Structural Engineer

AC Martin

General Contractor

Gilbane Construction

Project Summary

Cal Poly’s Engineering School needed an expansion project to meet the demand of new enrollments.  Engineering IV was conceived with collaboration in mind.  The Plaza was inspired by the Fibonacci series nautilus, representing a place of beginnings that spirals out infinitely.  Engineering IV encompasses 104,000 square feet of state-of-the-art labs and classrooms for mechanical, industrial and manufacturing, civil and environmental, and aerospace engineering programs.

Farrell collaborated with Cal Poly project managers, Cannon, John Martin Structural Engineers, and Geotechnical Engineer Ron Church at GSI.  The project soil conditions were quite challenging with loose colluvium in a collapsible silt matrix.  Ground water was encountered at about 6 feet below the surface with bedrock elevations varying as much as 10 feet across the site.  Farrell used the RAP system to improve the bearing capacity and settlement properties of the loose silt and colluvium soil and rock.  Both bearing and uplift RAPs were used for structural support.  The project was so successful that it received the Award of Commendation in the construction category from the Obispo Beautiful Association. 

Obispo Beautiful is a community organization of architects, design-builders, landscape designers, artists, and other design professionals interested in the quality of the built environment of San Luis Obispo.  As recipients of the Obispo Beautiful Award, Engineering IV and the Bonderson Projects Center “stand out” and are considered “a cut above the rest,” according to award criteria.


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