Taming Lively Buildings

by Kenneth Wiesner, Sr. Assoc.; LeMessurier Consultants, Cambridge, MA 02238,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 6, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


Mechanical damping systems are increasingly being used for controlling dynamic responses of tall buildings. Several types of dampers are described, and compared, beginning with the three types that have actually been used in existing buildings. The first example is the 10,000 passive viscoelastic dampers installed in the World Trade Center in 1972; next a passive tuned mass damper (1975) in the CN tower in Toronto, then the powered tuned mass dampers used at the John Hancock Tower, Boston (1977) and in the Citicorp Center, New York (1978). Other systems in the laboratory stages are also described; the author suggests the most promising are viscoelastic and active tuned mass dampers, along with the test-stage active pulse control system. The most recent example of damper use, the 260 viscoelastic dampers used at Seattle's Columbia Center tower in 1985, is also described.

Subject Headings: Damping | Viscoelasticity | Control systems | Mechanical systems | Dynamic response | Existing buildings | Active control | High-rise buildings | United States | Toronto | Ontario | Canada | Boston | Massachusetts | New York

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