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Re: big building

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One of the engineers in our office looked at an interestign building in Turkey
(this was b4 the EQ).  It was a manufacturing plant for Fiat, and was very, very
large (more than you describe).  The engineers (Italian) had segmented the
building with expansion joints, but had then interconnected the segments with
seismic "snubbers".   These are shock-absorber-looking devices, similar to
viscous dampers, except filled with a stiffer silicon paste (basically, it's
just "silly putty").  The snubbers allowed the slower thermal movements to occur
without resistance, but acted as essentially rigid struts for more rigid seismic
motions, so that the entire building could act as a single system.  They then
alternated the directions of the steel columns to resist motions as a very
distributed moment frame.  We thought it was a pretty darn good design.

regards, Martin