Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Carolyn Searls

Carolyn Searls M.S., P.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Carolyn Searls received her M.S. degree (1980) in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her graduate school focus was in structural engineering. She also received a B.S. degree (1979) in Architectural Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. After graduation from Berkeley, Ms. Searls spent 16 years at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., with a sabbatical in 1987 to obtain a Certificate in Architectural Conservation from the International Center for the Study of Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome, Italy. In 1997, she joined Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. (SGH) as Head of SGH’s San Francisco Building Technology Division. Today she holds the position of Senior Principal at SGH.

With over 35 years of professional practice experience, Ms. Searls has demonstrated technical expertise and leadership in the field of investigation, design, and construction administration of building-envelope repairs on both historic and contemporary structures throughout the United States. She is an authority in the field of preservation of masonry and concrete on historic buildings. Ms. Searls has presented at numerous conferences, authored more than forty technical papers and magazine articles, been featured on National Public Radio, and was co-author on the weathering steel chapter of the book Twentieth-Century Building Materials: History and Conservation published by McGraw Hill.

During her career, Ms. Searls has contributed to more than 1,000 building projects. Her noteworthy projects include San Francisco City Hall, Los Angeles City Hall, the Officers’ Club at the Presidio (San Francisco), Haviland Hall at UC Berkeley, Pacific Park Plaza (Emeryville), RMS Queen Mary (Long Beach), and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Hawaii). Several of her projects have received professional recognition. These also include San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building (2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco Design Award and ASCE Region 9 award), Sacramento Valley Station (2017 California Preservation Foundation Design Award) and Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory (2008 AIA Institute Honor Award). Ms. Searls is an Emeritus Board of Trustees member of the California Preservation Foundation and a Fellow of the Association of Preservation Technology.

Over the years, Ms. Searls has returned to the Berkeley campus to lecture students on the topics of concrete failures and repairs and building preservation technology.