Earthquake-Proof Skyscrapers?

Earthquake engineering is getting a lot more exposure recently, with websites like Gizmodo reporting on research into testing light wooden frames for large buildings – traditionally a material only used in small residential buildings in the Western world. It’s nothing new, of course, and with the world’s tallest timber building already residing in Melbourne we have a great opportunity to monitor real-world building response. It will be interesting to see how structures like these perform relative to their concrete counterparts when an earthquake eventually gives them a shake, and with strong motion accelerographs readily available we hope that building authorities start to look at instrumenting more buildings to monitor actual structural response and compare the data to the theoretical models used in the design process.