University of California San Diego Franklin Antonio Hall

Named after the co-founder of Qualcomm, Franklin Antonio Hall is a new interdisciplinary engineering building for the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). With Perkins+Will as the architect and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. as the general contractor, this $185M project is a cast-in-place concrete, four-story building over basement space, providing a flexible and collaborative environment. The building is approximately 186,000 sf of innovative cross-disciplinary research space housing new classrooms, an auditorium, laboratories, and core facilities.

This cutting-edge “collaboratory” (collaborative laboratory) building catches the eye immediately with beautiful exposed concrete walls and architectural sunshade fins giving the building an appearance of floating on the hillside. Inside, the architectural goal of achieving a collaboratory environment prioritizes movement and visibility throughout. Providing a unique floorplate designed to resemble the process of mitosis, or a cell splitting, allowed for two open three-story atriums, two bridges at each level to connect the separate wings, and a central self-supporting spiral stair intended to intertwine all levels together.

The gravity-defying spiral stair, designed to look like a strand of DNA, was not only an achievement in structural engineering, but also for the design team as a whole. The coordination between the architect, structural engineer, and contractor is a true testament to the finished product and eye-catching feature elements that accentuate the overall excellence of the entire building. In a similar spirit of collaborative achievement, the dramatic curvature of the spiraling steel framing seamlessly marries to the concrete framing elements projecting from the floor levels.

Fire protection engineering services include fire sprinkler engineering as well as the conceptual design of the smoke control system that protects the four-story atrium. The system uses mechanical exhaust in conjunction with natural and mechanical makeup air. Sprinkler consulting was provided to permit glass boundaries where the atrium separation also served as a control area boundary.


  • Education


  • Structural Engineering
  • Fire Protection Engineering