Posts tagged with "Earthquakes":

This three-sided concrete skyscraper can withstand earthquakes and stand for 2,500 years

In 1985 Mexico City suffered a devastating earthquake. Occurring in the early morning on September 19, the quake took the lives of more than 5,000 people. The earthquake's vibrations of the lakebed sediments beneath the city also destabilized its skyscrapers. Such was the devastation that one nine-story tower collapsed, its piles ripped from the ground. New building codes were implemented after the disaster and now Mexican architecture practice L. Benjamin Romano Arquitectos (LBRA), working alongside working alongside engineering firm Arup’s New York office, has produced an earthquake-resistant skyscraper designed to last 2,500 years.

Rising to 57-stories, Arup conceived pre-tensioned double-V hangers to brace the facade. According to a press release, in practice the skyscraper—named Torre Reforma (Tower Reform)—has an "inherent tendency to twist when subjected to lateral loads and wind" and "earthquake forces." While creating a signature aesthetic for the building, the hangers also provide visual reassurance of the its structural qualities.

Materiality was a key component of the design process for the tower. Arup said that the finish of the concrete was "critical"; the firm evaluated numerous design mixes. Their final choice resulted in a smooth surface, free from honeycombing or other flaws. Poured in increments of 27 inches, the finish highlights the color variations that are commonplace in similar types of pours.

In addition to its tectonics, the building's circulatory aspects were another area of focus. With a triangular floor-plan, LBRA strayed away from using the central core that's norm in skyscrapers. At Torre Reforma, the elevators and egress stairways are contained in the apex of the triangle. Long-span pyramidal floor trusses facilitate concealing the building's services. These trusses also enable dramatic column-free interiors and sweeping views of the city and the nearby Chapultepec Park.

Additionally, Torre Reforma is a pre-certified as a LEED Platinum Core and Shell project, as it makes use of various water conservation systems and a combination of automated and passive ventilation systems to moderate temperature.

"Arup has been indispensable in helping to transform my architectural vision into an efficient and buildable structure," said Benjamin Romano, Principal of LBRA, in a press release. "They have provided innovative solutions to the complex seismic issues in Mexico City and have been instrumental in helping the bidding contractors understand that Torre Reforma is not more complex than standard vertical construction; it just applies traditional construction methods, that contractors are already familiar with, in a new and different way."

Tabitha Tavolaro, Associate Principal at Arup and project manager for Torre Reforma, added, “Building tall structures in Mexico City often means working in constrained conditions. Challenges can include small or irregular sites, coordinating diverse teams, and, of course, seismic hazards. In this project, we partnered with LBRA to create robust solutions that bring value to the client as well as the community.”

Seismic hot spots and facade design: Experts explain the risks and rewards

Southern California's enviable climate and landscape—sunny skies, balmy temperatures, picturesque mountains, and surfer-friendly beaches—come at a geological cost: proximity to active earthquake faults. Local AEC industry professionals are adept at meeting detailed building code requirements for structural safety. But when it comes to cutting-edge facade systems, said KPFF principals Mark Hershberg and Nathan Ingraffea, designers and builders are left with little to go on. Hershberg and Ingraffea will dig into this and other challenges and opportunities associated with seismic design at this month's Facades+ LA conference in a panel on "Anchors & Approvals: Structure and Skin in Seismic Design." In addition to Ingraffea (Hershberg will moderate), panelists include Dana Nelson (Smith-Emery) and Diana Navarro (California OSHPD). "A tremendous amount of time has been spent to increase the safety of building structures in seismic events through continual updates of the code, but very little work has been done to understand the behavior of facade systems in seismic events," noted Ingraffea. "This is a shame since the value of the facade system could be just as high as the value of the structure itself, and failure of either one could be catastrophic. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to invest the time to modernize the code." In the meantime, designers, engineers, fabricators, and builders are left without "a well thought out design standard for seismic design of facade systems," said Ingraffea. The ASCE 7 contains only half a page on the topic. Worse still, the relevant text is "on one hand, very basic (one equation to check) and on the other hand overly onerous (dynamic racking tests), and they really do not apply to many modern facade systems," he said. As a result, building envelope design teams must tackle the issue of seismic design on a case-by case basis. "'Industry standard' is a term you hear a lot when you do a lot of facade engineering but from what I've seen the [seismic design] 'standard' is all over the board,'" said Ingraffea. In practical terms, a lack of data or guidance on seismic activity and building skins can cost precious time and money. "Most of the challenges we see with facade design in seismic hot spots are due to the amount of movement that can occur in a building system during a seismic event," explained Hershberg. "We service many clients who want to use new facade concepts or products that may have been developed overseas, and many times the products haven't been tested to determine the range of seismic movement that they can accommodate." The design team is thus forced to perform a series of qualification tests. "This introduces an additional set of schedule risks that are sometimes overlooked," said Hershberg. Learn more about the ins and outs of seismic design at Facades+ LA. Check out a full conference agenda and register for lab or dialog workshops today on the conference website.

Shigeru Ban to help relief efforts in Nepal

Shigeru Ban, the Pritzker Prize laureate known for his humanitarian work, is lending his design talents to earthquake-ravaged Nepal. Ban's Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) will start by distributing tents that can serve as shelter and medical stations. Then, over the next few months as conditions in the country stabilize, VAN will expand its presence by working with local universities to build housing and community facilities that are based on the prototypes of Ban's other post-disaster work. In a 2013 Ted Talk (below), Ban explains his humanitarian work, which started 20 years ago, when he built shelters made out of recycled paper tubes for Rwandan refugees. https://youtu.be/q43uXdOKPD8 To donate to VAN's current efforts in Nepal, visit Shigeru Ban's website. [h/t ArchRecord]

What’s shaking up Dallas-Fort Worth? Dozens of earthquakes rattling the Texas metroplex

15138051297_021221e45d Thirty-four earthquakes have occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex city of Irving since October 2014. Over the past week, the Dallas suburb has been shaken by a number of earthquakes from a common source point lying roughly below the former site of Texas Stadium. Those 34 quakes have contributed to the over 130 occurrences since 2008. The number is staggering considering the seismic activity in the region was non-existent prior.   stadium The number is considerable but perhaps even more alarming has been the recent magnitude. On January 6, two quakes at 3.5 and 3.6, recorded at a depth of 3 to 4 miles below the surface, were felt as far as the central business district in Dallas. With the ongoing seismic activity has come a series of debates focused around the recent spike in number with fingers pointing directly at the increased fracking activity in the region. Though occurrences have been numerous, reports of damage have been minor. The speculation is just given the source’s proximity to the Balcones Fault, which runs from Larado on the Mexican border up along the path of Interstate 35. The fault defines the line between the cross timbers and farmland to the east and the Texas Hill Country and Great Plains to the west. Seismic activity on the fault has been minor for centuries. In recent years, the disposal of wastewater nearly 10,000 feet below the Earth’s surface has been linked to a number of tremors throughout the region. Though any connection between seismic activity and hydraulic fracturing has been denied by the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil industry in Texas, a team of professors from SMU have begun an intensive study of the Texas Stadium site to identify the cause of the recent increase in earthquakes. The recent earthquake activity will undoubtedly continue to raise additional questions that surround the true positives and negatives behind fracking practices, an argument thoughtfully outlined by Brantley Hightower in May of 2014. For more specifics on the recent quakes the Dallas Morning News has compiled a series of hypothetical outcomes in a recent issue.

Los Angeles proposes ambitious, and costly, earthquake plan

In the wake of damaging reports about Los Angeles' unpreparedness for the next Big One, Mayor Eric Garcetti yesterday proposed a new earthquake plan that, if passed, would require owners to retrofit thousands of wood frame and concrete buildings. The report, led by the mayor's Science Advisor for Seismic Safety, Dr. Lucy Jones, would specifically target "soft-first-story" buildings and "non-ductile reinforced concrete" buildings built before 1980. It also recommends shoring up the city's water supply in the case of an earthquake, developing an alternative firefighting water supply and facilitating stronger pipes and aqueducts. The effort would also upgrade the city's telecommunications and power networks to prevent dangerous disruptions. You can read the full report here. "Instead of being complacent and then jarred into action by a devastating earthquake, LA is moving forward proactively," Garcetti said in a statement. The city's last major earthquake legislation came in the 1980's, requiring retrofit of vulnerable brick buildings. Outside of political questions, the biggest issue to implementation, of course, would be cost. According to the LA Times, the cost of retrofitting a modest wooden apartment building ranges from $60,000 to $130,000. According to the New York Times the cost of retrofitting some builders could easily exceed $1 million each. The mayor has no formal plan to aid property owners with payment, but he offered the prospect of tax breaks  (such as a 5-year business-tax exemption), access to private lenders, the waiving of permit fees, and CEQA exemptions as possible aids. As for improving public infrastructure Garcetti has proposed a statewide "Seismic Resilience Bond Measure" that could be introduced in a future election. According to insurer Swiss Re, Los Angeles faces greater risks of catastrophic loss from earthquakes than any city in the world except Tokyo, Jakarta, and Manila. Sobering thought. As California State Geologist John Parish told AN, "This ain't Kansas." Some business leaders have argued that plan will be too expensive without substantial financial assistance. Others argue that it's being proposed too late.

On View> Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake

Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake MAK Center 835 North Kings Road West Hollywood, California Through January 4, 2015 The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 devastated the island nation, setting off a tsunami that destroyed over 300 miles of coastline, causing the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and leaving more than 20,000 people dead and 470,000 without homes. The severe damage from the catastrophe propelled architects to take action, swiftly and creatively, as illustrated in a new exhibit, Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. Faced with the slow moving bureaucracy of the government response, a number of architects—including Manabu Chiba, Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (of Atelier Bow-Wow), Senhiko Nakata, Osamu Tsukhashi, and Riken Yamamoto—decided to take matters into their own hands and work with local communities to rebuild, using a myriad of design solutions. Through this grassroots movement, the show explores how architects can jumpstart and participate in recovery efforts following a natural disaster.

On View> Installation exposes earthquake country in Silver Lake, Los Angeles

Domus Materials and Applications 1619 Silver Lake Blvd Through Spring 2015 You can't tell at first glance, but Silver Lake gallery Materials & Applications is measuring the ground shaking beneath your feet. Their newest installation, Domus, by D.V. Rogers, detects worldwide seismic activity measured by the US Geological Survey and reveals it with a 7-foot-tall, multi-colored LED "light chandelier" display and with pulsing sounds. All is encased inside a 20-foot-tall, six-sided "hexayurt" made with simple exterior insulation panels and filament tape. The installation will be up until next Spring. A key component of Domus is to engage people with earthquake-preparedness and post-disaster strategies, a reality that is often ignored in temblor-prone Los Angeles. The structure itself is an example of low cost architecture for possible disaster zones. Rogers has already hosted workshops on the topic, and more events are planned during the show's duration.

Washington Monument Re-Opens to the Public: Celebrate With These 22 Beautiful Photos

After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble. At the cost of $15 million—which was financed by the federal government and a private donation—all of the monument’s damaged stones were either removed or resealed, and the 55-story elevator was repaired. Some of the monument’s new marble even came out of the same Maryland quarry that supplied material for the structure when it was first built over 100 years ago. During construction, the structure was wrapped in 500 tons of scaffolding, which was designed by Michael Graves. At night, the supportive envelope was entirely lit up and appeared like hundreds of glowing bricks. To celebrate the re-opening, AN's editors gathered up 22 of the most beautiful photos of the Washington Monument through the years, dating all the way back to the beginning. Take a look below. (And also check out the monument's moving shadows on Google Maps.)

Los Angeles Earthquake Report: Be Afraid

If you live or work in one of LA's many older concrete buildings and happened to read the  Los Angeles Times recent story, "Concrete Risks," your building, as swanky and detailed as it may be, may never be experienced in quite the same light. The report sounds the alarm on over 1,000 concrete buildings in the city and throughout the region that “may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake.” As the reporters note, starting in the 1920’s, the skyline of Los Angeles began to be defined by concrete buildings. “By the 1970s, canyons of concrete towers lined some of LA's most famous streets." Even buildings like the iconic Capitol Records tower could be at risk and urgently in need of seismic retrofitting. Other buildings range from seamstress factories downtown to condo towers along “Millionaires’ Mile” in Westwood. “Los Angeles officials have known about the dangers for more than 40 years but have failed to force owners to make their properties safer. The city has even rejected calls to make a list of concrete buildings,” the report asserts. City codes didn’t require more rebar until 1976. The future of such buildings in the city remains unclear. What is clear is that there are many at-risk buildings in need of seismic assessments and retrofits. A team of researchers from UC Berkeley, with backing from the National Science Foundation, has come up with a list. Because of liability issues this list was not made available, but the team did provide their conclusions.  Such a list would help the city start addressing this problem, but it would take lot of political will, not to mention risk, for city leaders to take up the cause. According to the article, newly-elected mayor Eric Garcetti says he is interested in reviewing the issue.

In Chicago, Toyo Ito reflects on 3.11 Earthquake

Japanese architect and 2013 Pritzker Laureate Toyo Ito visited the Art Institute of Chicago Tuesday, reflecting during two public lectures on how the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated his homeland changed his approach to design. At 72 years old, the accomplished architect might be expected to rest on his laurels. But Ito said his entire approach began to change during the 1990s. “I used to pursue architecture that is beautiful, aligned with modernism,” he said through an interpreter during a talk with Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho; Yusaku Imamura, director of Tokyo Wonder Site; and artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Instead, he said, he began to ask what elements of a building make it livable. On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan killed more than 15,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings. Like many Japanese architects, Ito wanted to help. From a series of discussions with quake victims rendered homeless, Ito’s firm developed their “Home-for-All” project. Tuesday evening Ito delivered the Art Institute’s Butler-VanderLinden Lecture, titled “Architecture after 3.11”. He described how government recovery plans failed to inspire or comfort those they were supposed to assist. They were too compartmentalized, isolating, and ignorant of the “dreams and visions” of their users, Ito said. One home Ito’s group built for 3.11 victims salvaged giant kesen cedars, devastated by the tsunami, for construction material — “a sign we’re rebuilding,” he said. Ito said he’s often asked how to bridge the gap between this post-disaster work and his typical practice. His reply: “Build architecture that is open to nature and harmonizes with people.” Ito’s visit also included a tour of “News from Nowhere,” the first U.S. presentation of the work by Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho. Moon and Jeon meditate on a post-apocalyptic society composed of nation-corporations that control the technology necessary to sustain life after a 22nd century global catastrophe. That equipment is displayed throughout, along with a pair of lyrical videos that sketch the story of two survivors. The exhibition also features elements of Ito’s “Home-for-All” project alongside work from fashion designers Kuho Jung and Kosuke Tsumura; mime Yu Jin Gyu; and design firms MVRDV and takram design engineering. The exhibit is on display at the Sullivan Galleries — 33 S. State St., 7th floor — through December 21.

Photo of the Day> Snap, Rattle, and Roll

Architectural photographer, Adrian Wilson, shared this photo with AN that he snapped during a photo shoot in Mexico City today. The routine work day, this time at Casa Palacio for Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates, was abruptly interrupted by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake epicentered some 250 miles outside the Mexican capital. It was once instance, the usually-steady Wilson said, when he "couldn't avoid camera shake…" According to news reports there was no major damage or injuries reported from the tremor.

Shigeru Ban Reinvents Earthquake-Damaged Christchurch With Temporary Cardboard Cathedral

As a result of a devastating earthquake in February 2011, New Zealand's Christchurch Cathedral was left critically damaged. After an inconclusive debate about whether to completely tear down, restore, or remodel the original Neo-Gothic cathedral, the people of Christchurch were struck with what might be divine inspiration in the form of a temporary home, the world’s only cathedral constructed extensively of cardboard.  Tourism New Zealand announced the inauguration of Cardboard Cathedral, a replica of the original church constructed of cardboard tubes, timber joints, steel, and concrete. Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect and a leader in "Emergency Architecture,” designed the transitional church as a testimony to the city’s resourcefulness and resolve following the earthquake and aftershocks. The structure involves a triangular profile constructed from 98 cardboard tubes surrounding a colored triangular glass window in the great hall that features images from the original façade’s rose window, which collapsed completely in December 2011. The main hall has a 700-person capacity for events and concerts. To further incorporate recyclable materials, the temporary cathedral also includes eight steel shipping containers that house the chapels. Designed to last for at least the next two decades, Cardboard Cathedral will remain in place while the original cathedral’s fate is determined. Recently, the rebuilding of the damaged cathedral has been a controversial topic, as critics have already shot down two contemporary designs, deeming them “bizarre” and “architecturally illiterate,” and have called for the building to be restored to its gothic form, originally designed by George Gilbert Scott in the latter half of the 19th Century. Projected to open in December of last year, the Cardboard Cathedral was subject to a sequence of construction delays and was not officially opened until last week. To celebrate the opening of the cathedral and its architectural splendor and acoustic potential, Joyfully Un-Munted, a concert series of opera, jazz and traditional music is being held through August 15, 2013.