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RE: Earthquake-Proof Design

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It’s been a while since my dynamic days, but I believe a tall (or flexible) building near an earthquake source might be a good idea. That follows the general goal of mismatching the natural and forcing frequencies. A tall building right on the fault might not even feel the quake, except maybe the first five or six floors.


Of course, this is a little tongue in cheek.


I believe the current technology (and I am certainly not an authority) would be something like base isolation.


Oh, and your score card?


Being a Trojan: +1

Being an Architect:: -1

Final Score: 0


Just kidding.


Go Trojans! If we’re lucky, we’ll get into the Sun Bowl this year.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Bruckman [mailto:bruckmandesign(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 8:53 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Earthquake-Proof Design


Listen, you clowns…I leave town for one day and come back to 93 messages about just about everything BUT engineering.  So, either I start a thread lambasting Prof. Astenah’s cheesy, stinkin’ football team and how we Trojans will be up there soon to kick Bear, OR I will start a new thread about EQ design.


I’ll start with that and see if it morphs into a football board.


I have a client that bought a piece of land in North LA County.  I’ve been to the site and it’s a really pretty, sort of bucolic little area full of chaparral and butterflies.  Unfortunately, it also has, about a 3 wood away, the grinding fury of two continental tectonic plates sliding by each other. I think they call it The San Andreas Fault.


So, after the preliminary discussion wherein I say, “There is no such thing as an earthquake-proof building…blah blah blah…”, we got serious and he and I agreed that I would try to get as close as I could by affecting the design in such a way that the threat could be minimized.


So, with that in mind, I told him, for instance:  Tall building?   Not so much….Irregular building with re-entrant corners….not so much….Now, more broadly, the question for the board:


What are the other various strategies that would minimize the risk?