University of Memphis Law School Relocation & Seismic Upgrade

Location:  Memphis, Tennessee
Architect:  Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects (ANFA) / Fleming Architects Joint Venture

The complete renovation of this historic building allowed the engineers at Burr & Cole Consulting Engineers, Inc. a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to access and evaluate major structural components and to apply state-of-the-art seismic analysis and strengthening measures.

Though originally built in the early 1880s, over the years it featured a marble exterior, two clock towers on its north and south sides, four lofty-ceilinged courtrooms, brass window cages in the Post Office, hardwood paneling, stone fireplaces, hand-painted wood trim, and other magnificent architectural touches inside and out. Drawings for significant portions of the existing structure were not available. This made for a challenging project.

Seismically weak conditions of the building, such as stone parapets and floor diaphragms, were strengthened. The seismic retrofit design for this project resulted in a highly enhanced seismic performance for the building while staying within a tight budget. Unique hybrid shotcrete/unreinforced brick shear walls used in the renovation made the most of existing elements without disturbing the beautiful exterior of building, monumental staircases and most of the finishes while reducing the amount of foundation work required. Renovation of this 125-year-old building has been accomplished to provide a state-of-the-art facility without compromising the beauty and historic integrity of the structure.