Structures Lab

The CEE Structures Laboratory is available to all researchers, professionals, and clients from the industry to solve basic and applied problems in structural engineering.

Located on the 2nd Floor of Davis Hall on the Berkeley campus, the Structures Laboratory houses equipment for studying the behavior of structural elements and systems both on scale models and prototypes. Studies range from detailed stress analyses to both static and dynamic tests on full-sized structural systems.

To schedule a tour of the Structures Lab, please contact Shakhzod Takhirov, Lab Manager, at


Structures Lab second floor Davis Hall
Structures Lab second floor Davis Hall

Testing Capabilities

At the CEE Structures Laboratory, you can conduct conventional tests using the lab’s uniquely large, strong floor, flexibly-configured reaction systems, and a variety of actuators and modern instrumentation devices and sensors. The facility is capable of inducing forces ranging from a few pounds to millions of pounds. It can apply and measure deformations ranging from a few thousandths of an inch to tens of inches.

Testing capabilities include:

  • modern techniques for hybrid simulation methods that combine physical and analytical sub-structures into a hybrid model of the entire structure using state-of-the-art digital controllers,
  • the Open-source Framework for Experimental Setup and Control (OpenFresco)
  • the latest finite element models built using the Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (OpenSees) framework

Our laboratory includes our base-isolated 41 ft. x 131 ft. concrete strong floor, to which the reaction frames, actuators, and specimens are securely fastened during the tests. Our 10-ton bridge crane can accommodate test specimens up to 17 ft. in height.

A well-equipped machine shop and electronic shop complement the laboratory facility.

Machine Shop

Our Machine Shop can fabricate a wide variety of structural test elements and test instrumentation fixtures. We can fabricate from a wide variety of materials, such as aluminum, steel, plastics, and masonry.

Attached to the main machine room are our Welding Room and our Tool Room. We also have a limited stock of supplies such as bolts, screws, and nuts, as well as a selection of large uncut stock materials.


Laboratory staff members are able to create specialized test fixtures, complex and large test setups, and a variety of detailed instrumentation networks. They are able to fabricate complex test specimens for structural components and systems made of steel, reinforced concrete, masonry, adobe, wood, composites, and other materials. Instrumentation available in the laboratory ranges from simple mechanical indicators to high-speed computer-controlled data acquisition systems.


The mission of CEE’s Structures Laboratory is to provide the means to advance the field of structural engineering through cutting-edge research activities, to support the profession of structural engineering by solving practical problems, to educate the next generation of structural engineers through laboratory demonstrations in undergraduate and graduate courses, student-taught experimental and hands-on-experience classes, and semester-long courses on experimental methods in structural engineering.

Student Use

CEE students can access the Mechanical Engineering Department Student Machine Shop for class and research projects.  The Mechanical Engineering Department Student Machine Shop is an educational facility to train students in the principles of machining and provides an excellent opportunity for students to get hands-on shop experience.  The facility includes basic equipment, such as lathes, mills, and drills, along with more advanced tools, such as abrasive jet-cutting tools.

To utilize the Mechanical Engineering Department Student Machine Shop, you need to complete a safety orientation course.  Contact ME Engineering Manager Scott McCormick.


For more information regarding CEE’s testing facilities and capabilities, or to request a quote for an upcoming test, contact Laboratory Manager Dr. Shakhzod Takhirov at 510.642.4309.

Live Feeds

Cameras One and Two show a real-time view of the 2nd floor test area.