Enduring Elegance (Available in Structural Engineering Special Issue only)

by Anoop S. Mokha, Assoc. and Proj. Engr.; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, San Francisco, CA,
Peter L. Lee, Assoc. and Proj. Engr.; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, San Francisco, CA,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1999, Vol. 69, Issue 8, Pg. A2-A6


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Every architect who designs for earthquake-prone areas wants to create an elegant aesthetic form despite the limitations of seismic considerations. The San Francisco International Airport's new international terminal—with its dramatic 860 ft (262 m) long winglike roof structure and a 700 by 80 ft (213 by 24 m) glass wall—can withstand a Richter magnitude 8 earthquake thanks to 267 friction pendulum seismic isolators installed at the base of the building columns. Complicating the terminal's design was the airport's directive to locate this new terminal over the existing entrance roadway to the domestic terminals without disrupting traffic during construction. With more than 1.2 million sq ft (111,480 m2) of floor space and more than 22 million cu ft (623,040 m3) of interior volume, the new international terminal is the largest base-isolated building in the world.

Subject Headings: Airport terminals | Airports and airfields | Base isolation | California | Construction | Earthquake resistant structures | Seismic design

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