San Diego Central Library in Calif. Aaron Beebe / Thornton Tomasetti.



The City of San Diego’s new central library will serve as the center of its 35-branch library system. Thornton Tomasetti was retained by the curtain wall contractor, during the construction phase, to provide façade engineering building information modeling consulting services for the nine-story, 440,000-square-foot public library. The facility houses a 350-seat auditorium, a 400-seat multipurpose room and a charter school servicing 400 students. The structure features an expressive domed roof and various forms of aluminum-framed curtain walls and windows.

Thornton Tomasetti provided independent BIM services in accordance with the general contractor’s clash detection requirements. The importance of this work related primarily to the façade’s geometric complexity and the coordination of trades. Using Revit, Thornton Tomasetti created building information models from the contractor’s shop drawings that were then used for clash detection within the context of other project models.

The library is seeking LEED Silver certification.

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Our façade engineering teams advise clients on the best way to develop both conventional and innovative façade systems, applying our knowledge of structures, glazing technology, mechanical shade systems and thermal behavior. We provide design, detailing and engineering support for enclosures of any shape or size, from minimalist to high-tech. We also provide expertise in safety and security glazing, along with glass frits and reflective coatings.

Façade Materials & Systems

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Glazing offers transparency that enhances a façade’s aesthetics and experience from both the interior and exterior. It provides light and a visual connection between the inside and outside. But designing with glass requires the deliberate balancing of light transmittance and the effects it has on energy performance and occupant comfort. Glazing design also requires careful consideration of material strength and safety. We provide a full range of design and engineering support for glazing and glass structures, from structural analyses to recommendations for aesthetics and energy performance. Our expertise in glazed-façade and structural-glass construction includes unitized aluminum frames, stick-built metal frames, steel cable supports, structural glass fin supports and glass stairs and balustrades.