Designing Seismic Resistant Architecture

Designing Seismic Resistant Architecture

Continuing from our last blog post on designing fire-safe buildings, our architects in Warrington have taken a deep dive into how to best design seismic resistant architecture. Although the UK isn’t as earthquake prone as other places around the world, it’s important to design with preparedness in mind as one can never predict emergencies.

Below we’ve collected some of the basic information one should be aware of when designing and planning any kind of seismic resistant building or architecture.

Designing with Earthquakes in Mind

There’s an old saying in the world of architecture that goes: earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do. The saying indicates that while earthquakes are obviously the cause of structural failures, it’s the lack of preparedness in designing seismic-resistant buildings that causes these failures to occur easily.

Architects in Warrington know that earthquakes are common causes of other natural disasters like fires and tsunamis, meaning that designing a seismic-resistant building also involves preparing for other possible natural disasters.

Evaluate the Seismic Activity of the Building Site

Before any kind of construction project, it is imperative that architects in Warrington evaluate the seismic activity of the proposed building site. Understanding the bearing capacity of your foundation soil will allow you to work within these limits and avoid foundational collapse from any kind of seismic activity.

If necessary, architects in Warrington conduct a full soil investigation to clearly determine the allowable bearing capacity and nature of the soil.

Stick with Symmetry

While architects in Warrington have been known to try a few novel designs, generally they design building in symmetrical shapes in order to ensure their stability. This is because when analysing earthquake forces on a symmetrical building, you’re able to quickly tell how these forces will shake the building.

Generally speaking, circular shapes are more stable than others, as they eliminate any obvious weak points. Along with this, the dome is one of the most resilient roof-shapes one can use when designing a building.

Avoid Resonant Frequency

While you can prepare your building in a perfectly symmetrical shape with a dome for your roof, architects in Warrington know that it won’t matter if your building shares the same resonant frequency as a typical earthquake’s frequency. Resonant frequency is the natural frequency of vibration that is determined by analysing the physical parameters of an object.

If your building shares the same resonant frequency as an earthquake, it will vibrate and move at a much higher amplitude, causing it to quickly break down or collapse. Always investigate the resonant frequency of your building’s materials so you can prevent undue oscillations because of resonance frequency.

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Although we do our best as architects to construct buildings that are safe no matter the emergency, we’ve still yet to construct a completely earthquake-proof building. Every building will be susceptible to an earthquake powerful enough, however it is important we construct buildings that can at least resist collapse during an earthquake.

Hopefully this guide has given you some information about the way an architect plans seismic-resistant constructions. For any more information or to speak with our architects in Warrington, be sure to call us at 0151 321 1986.