Saiful Bouquet is the structural engineer for the new $200M 155,000 sf Chen Neuroscience Research Building at Caltech. Home to a world-renowned research community, Chen Neuroscience Research building represents a new model of laboratory design. It creates centralized hubs for cross-discipline collaboration, with plug-and-play wet, dry, and computational lab suites that can be modified to suit specialized research needs. The interdisciplinary research is focused on biology and biomedical engineering with an emphasis on neuroscience. The building is 3-story above grade with 2 levels below and includes a large vivarium and a 150-seat lecture hall.
Saiful Bouquet explored various structural systems at the early stages of the design, which included steel construction as well as concrete one-way beam column system, and a concrete flat plate system. A hybrid system consisting of steel superstructure and concrete flat plate below grade was finally selected as the most appropriate system as it was cost-effective and also allowed early below grade construction to start while steel was being fabricated. Buckling restraint braced frames were used as the seismic resisting system. A major portion of the building was designed for the restrictive (2,000 mips) vibration criterion.
Nonlinear earthquake time-history analysis was used to verify (and fine-tune, as needed) the seismic performance of the building so that it met the explicit performance goals defined by Caltech.