College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

Architectural Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Architectural Engineering



Primary Advisor

Kevin Dong


The aim of this senior project is to help restore the vitality of Poly Canyon by continuing the renovation of the Modular House. The Modular house was originally built in 1969 as living quarters for caretakers of Poly Canyon. The two-story structure was built as a series of 8 foot (ft.) by 8 ft. wall, floor and ceiling frames in a 2x3 bay floor plan. The 8 ft squares were filled with 2 standard sized 4 ft. by 8 ft. plywood sheets. Since its original construction, triangular expansions have been added to the floor plan of the original layout. Also, in the early 2000’s, street signs were added as cladding for weatherproofing.

Soon after the College of Architecture and Environmental Design could no longer afford to have caretakers living in the structures, the Modular House fell into disrepair from disuse and vandalism, forcing the structure to be closed off to public access. A senior project group in Spring 2017 did a sizable amount of work to renovate the structure and reopen the Modular House to the public. The 2017 group removed the walls and floors. The ground floor was replaced with concrete on metal decking, and the ground floor walls were replaced with a perimeter guardrail. The guardrail reused the old street-sign cladding as infill to help maintain the architectural integrity of the structure.

Two critical issues were needed to be addressed after the work by the 2017 group. The first issue is that the new concrete floor contained a 2 ft. by 8 ft. opening in the transition to a bay set 2 ft below the main ground floor elevation and a similar 2 ft.-7 in. by 2 ft. opening in the transition to a bay set 2 ft. above the main ground floor elevation. Plans for staircases to bridge these gaps were made by the 2017 group, but were not carried out. The openings allow a fall over 3 ft. and the public was allowed to enter the structure after the completion of the 2017 renovations, so the openings in the floor posed a safety hazard.

The second issue was the weathering of the existing ceiling. Because the walls were removed, the existing acoustical tile ceiling began to degrade from the elements. The exposure caused the tiles to start to fall. This posed another risk to occupants, since the tiles could strike the occupant from above.

The main focus of this senior project was to mitigate the immediate risks that afflicted the Modular House. Specific ways the problems were addressed include:

  1. Fabrication and installation of main floor stairs.

  2. Fabrication and Installation of an additional railings.

  3. Demolition of the existing roof and replacement with corrugated metal decking.

This construction will help increase the safety of the structure by covering existing openings in the floor with stairs to transition between floor levels and alleviate fall hazards. A handrail accompanies the larger staircase and an additional guardrail acts as a barrier between lines of elevation change. The demolition of the existing roof structure directly removes the tile ceiling hazard.