Methane Mitigation for a Historical Building Retrofit
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Geosyntec provided design support for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the nation's first large-scale museum dedicated entirely to the art, science, craft, business, and history of movies. The museum will be the world's premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. With a planned opening in 2019, this Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument will house a museum that is simultaneously immersive, experimental, educational, and entertaining. The museum has actively been acquiring three-dimensional motion picture objects and now has approximately 2,500 items, including the only surviving shark mold from the blockbuster film Jaws.

The building is located in the City of Los Angeles High Methane Zone and required methane mitigation in accordance with Division 71 of Article 1, Chapter IX of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. This mitigation is extremely important as methane can enter a building through cracks, possibly causing multiple risk scenarios.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec's scope of services included methane mitigation design compliant with the methane code and coordinating methane mitigation with the project's dewatering consultants, as part of the overall retrofit of this historical building. We supported the Academy at public meetings and worked with the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to identify acceptable variances from the code. Geosyntec staff prepared a comprehensive report identifying the hazards associated with methane and construction of the methane system for analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Notable Accomplishments

The historical nature of this building was a key factor in Geosyntec's innovative design. Geosyntec successfully negotiated the removal of subslab venting and dewatering pipes beneath a portion of the basement, as well as the decoupling of venting and dewatering pipes in the remaining basement areas. The existing slab was retained, and the building was constructed with the methane mitigation system between the old slab and new topping slab as opposed to installing the system on the exterior of the structure. To minimize impact to the museum's gallery space, Geosyntec increased the vent riser size, expanded the space between risers, and limited the location of the risers to the perimeter of the building interior.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Client: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
  • Project Practice Areas: Contaminated Sites, Air Quality
  • Type of Facility: Historic Building
  • Services Provided: Methane Mitigation Design; California Environmental Quality Act Support; Regulatory Support
  • Type of Work: Methane Mitigation
  • Governing Regulation: Local Regulations