Mexico City's new tallest building, the Torre Reforma, posed a tricky design challenge for London engineering firm Arup, thanks to the city's predisposition to earthquakes.
"The core provides resistance to earthquakes using reinforced concrete sheer walls, connected by smaller elements known as coupling beams which dissipate energy during a large earthquake," explains Tom Wilcock, an associate principal engineer at Arup's Advanced Technology and Research practice in New York.
Using historical earthquake data and information from statistical and physical earthquake models, Arup's structural engineers simulated representative earthquakes and their effects on the building's structure during the design process. Now, Wilcox says, the Torre Reforma can withstand the full range of earthquake activity predicted in the area for the next 2,500 years. Fingers crossed.
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