Seismic Design Doubles Lateral Resistance (Available only in Structures special issue)

by James O. Malley, (M.ASCE), Sr. Prin.; H.J. Degenkolb Associates, Engineers, San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 9, Pg. 14A-16A

Document Type: Feature article


A veterans hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. had to be built under severe design constraints. The seismic code for hospitals is among the most stringent of codes and this facility was sited near a fault. The hospital must structurally withstand an earthquake and remain fully operational afterwards. The $180 million three building complex replaces an earthquake damaged facility built in the 1960s. The criteria called for a continuous lateral force resisting system, no irregularities in mass, stiffness and strength, a ductile redundant lateral force-resisting system, and connection with strength and ductility. An eccentrically braced steel framing system was chosen because it forces inelastic behavior in ductile beam elements rather than the brace members without the functional restrictions of shear walls. A moment-resisting frame was incorporated for redundancy. The site is four miles from the San Andreas fault and is suspected of containing another unidentified fault. Two three-dimensional structural models were developed to simulate the dynamic characteristics and to design the framing members.

Subject Headings: Seismic design | Load and resistance factor design | Seismic tests

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