Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
The City and Country Building in Salt Lake City, Utah was completed in 1893 to the design of local architects Monheim, Bird and Proudfoot to house the city and country government. This 160,000 sq/ft Richardsonian Romanesque stone building is located in an active seismic area. It needed to be upgraded and adapted to serve contemporary needs. In addition, the building needed to be able to function as the center of services during an earthquake.
As a result, the building posed two fundamental challenges: first, to convert a 100-year old building into a 21st century facility; second, to make the building seismically safe without losing the sense of history, the very fact that made saving the building important. This required new and innovative technologies. The seismic upgrade was achieved by employing a system of base isolation, a concept by which the entire building is separated from the ground and placed on hard rubber blocks functioning almost as shock breakers allowing the building to move gradually during an earthquake.
The building was surrounded with a small ‘moat’ allowing it to move freely back and forth. The City and County Building was the first time that this technology, developed in New Zealand, was applied to a historic building and used in the US.
The renovation of the interior presented its own challenges. New systems and functions were inserted with as little intervention as possible, leaving the original volume intact.
The US $30 million project has won numerous national and regional awards since its completion for innovative technical solutions, the transformation and adaption of an old build into a modern facility, and the careful treatment of a significant historic building.