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The Case for Seismic Superiority of Well-Engineered Tall Buildings

Farzad Naeim, & Robert W. Graves

Published March 21, 2006, SCEC Contribution #1098

The objective of this paper is to bring the lingering debate over whether more rigid or more flexible buildings fare better during major earthquakes to an end. Historical data, design experience, and ground motions obtained from simulation of a magnitude 7ยท1 blind fault rupture directly below downtown Los Angeles are utilized in this study. Assuming the same level of attention to design, detailing, and construction workmanship is applied to buildings of all heights resulting in well-engineered buildings, the results indicate that well-engineered tall buildings are substantially safer than shorter, stiffer, buildings when subjected to strong earthquake ground motions. This is true even in the case of strong ground motions containing significant directivity and near-source velocity pulses.

Naeim, F., & Graves, R. W. (2006). The Case for Seismic Superiority of Well-Engineered Tall Buildings. The Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings, 14(5), 401-416. doi: 10.1002/tal.339.