Innovative solution enabled new life for Fremont School

May 2017

Built in 1923, the former Fremont School was transformed into performance and rehearsal studios for local arts groups, and is now referred to as the E. Claire Raley Center for the Performing Arts or CLARA. Buehler was honored to be awarded the American Institute of Architects Central Valley chapter Divine Detail Award for the structural post-tension cable system. 

The biggest challenge was to remove closely spaced interior columns to create the open space the dancers required. Traditional solutions were prohibitively expensive and kept the project from moving forward; Buehler was brought in to find a financially viable solution. At the roof line, 62-foot steel girders were added to clear span the building width and transfer loads to the existing perimeter structure.   Link to watch video of insertion of beams in roof

columns removed

Buehler's innovative approach enabled all existing interior columns to be eliminated by utilizing external post tensioning strands. While typically buried in concrete, the exposed red sleeves of the post-tensioned strands were expressed on the underside of the existing floor, providing a unique aesthetic to the now column-free rehearsal space.