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Soham Ortiz
Field Engineer
Asked a question 2 years ago

What architectural features affect design of earthquake resistant buildings?

Write short notes on architectural features which govern the design of building against earthquake force

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Terry Collins
Sustainability consultant

Such that the forces generated by the most destructive force that The Mother unleashes upon us human, tenets of Earthquake Resistant design need to be incorporated into all buildings we live and work within. For ensuring the safety of people there, it must be ensured by the designers that the buildings don't collapse in the event of an earthquake. Towards this end, the technical aspect of endurance is - ductility. We shall see that a little later. 

Before proceeding on any elaboration, let the concerned reduce the contradictions/conflicts that nearly regularly surface between the Architects and the Structural Engineers.

 As far as Architectural features are concerned, these are a few of them that must be incorporated. For example, keep the plan symmetrical along its vertical axis and avoid large void spaces within the buildings.

 If architects can take the structural engineers along with them right from the beginning of the architectural planning process, much of the confrontations and changes at later stages can be obviated. Else, the cost for the same size building can be much higher if the architect insists upon very peculiar shapes. Unfortunately, this seamless coordination between these two prime people doesn't happen in most cases. 

The challenge is much bigger for the structural designers if the owner and the architects insist upon peculiar designs. The Burj Al Arab Hotel of Dubai is one example. Imagine, everything right from the beginning has been and shall ever remain against the stability of this particular building. Yet it stands. More than the architect, it is the structural designer who needs to be applauded for this magic....

Structural designers must design buildings such that while the columns and the beams are strong, the roof slabs be as light as is feasible given the architectural shape/design of any building. Confining reinforcement at the beam-column junctions ensures the required ductility of the buildings in the event of an earthquake. This MUST be ensured at all costs. There are numerous other features of the design. But equally significant part is the execution of the design on the ground. Unfortunately, we in India are not able to control this part very well.