The Future of Tall Buildings in High Seismic Regions

Christoph Gruenaug
Arup, Sydney

The global trend of exponentially increasing urban populations necessitates the evolution of the design of tall buildings. The current challenges of tower design including narrow infill parcel sizes, natural disasters, and economic viability will continue to escalate in importance with the unprecedented density in future cities. New technologies in vertical transportation and mechanical systems will respond to these challenges and change building configurations. Structural systems will need to advance at an equal rate – improving material efficiency, reducing environmental impacts and addressing post-disaster performance.
The tall buildings in future cities will undoubtable look and perform much different than those populating our current urban centers. However, contemporary designs and developments provide insight into characteristics that these future towers may share. The proposed presentation and presentation will focus on the innovative technologies for enhanced resiliency and seismic resistance in tall building structural designs. Ongoing development of Pin-Fuse friction-based connections in timber towers, for example, demonstrates an opportunity to combine ductile seismic behavior with the lower embodied carbon of timber construction. Another system that is gaining attention for enhance ductility and quick post-earthquake re-occupancy is a rocking shear wall system with vertical post-tensioning. This system introduces ductility in discrete locations over the height and it has the capability of re-centering. In addition, recent trends in tall buildings show the use of stiff diagrid systems at the perimeter of the structure combined with “link fuses” distributed over the height of the building to enhance the ductility of the overall system (see for example Wuhan Guohua and Shenzhen Citic). These examples demonstrate developments in the resiliency of structural systems which will be needed to design the tower of the future.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation