Isolated Examples

by Rita Robison, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 11, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


The technology of seismic isolation, also known as base isolation, is being used to protect the contents and occupants of a building as well as its structure. Isolators are led-rubber units installed between a building's columns and foundation. One new project is the Los Angeles County Fire Department Fire Command and Control Facility (FCCF), the center for 911 calls from some 3 million residents. The isolators are designed to protect the 911 communications systems, allowing them to function during and after a quake. The building is clad with aluminum that accents the chevrons of the braced steel frame. Also in Los Angeles is the world's first base isolated hospital, a $50 million teaching facility for the University of Southern California. The braced frame of the eight story building rests on 140 isolators. In Salt Lake City, isolators were used to protect a manufacturer's inventory of complex flight simulation systems that are used for pilot training. Engineers designed a moment frame that minimizes uplift and overturning problems; it rests on 98 isolators under the interior columns. The ultimate backup is provided by heavy steel studs mounted on the perimeter of the bottom floating floor. All three buildings were designed before agreement could be reached on design guidelines. Guidelines have now been produced by the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC).

Subject Headings: Base isolation | Building design | Columns | Fires | Bracing | Steel frames | Health care facilities | Seismic tests | United States | Los Angeles | California | Utah

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