PreviousNext

Prepare to be Both Shaken and Stirred

At the Center for Architecture, Chapter News, Exhibitions by • 02/19

With apologies to the creators of a jukebox musical currently on Broadway, Carole King isn’t the only one feeling the earth move under her feet. While severe weather events like Superstorm Sandy have made flood preparations a prominent public concern, the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) has also kept an eye on other forms of catastrophe; the new installation at the Center for Architecture examines strategies for anticipating and counteracting earthquake damage. “Considering the Quake: Seismic Design on the Edge” is the first major exhibition in the presidency of Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, embodying an important facet of the 2014 theme “Civic Spirit : Civic Vision”. It combines detailed technical education with thought-provoking visual and interactive displays. Exploring the science and art of bolstering resilience under seismic stresses, the exhibition favors optimistic, can-do presentations of design and technology rather than images of destruction.

First mounted at Toronto’s Design Exchange last year, “Considering the Quake” now gives New York’s architects and general public a stimulating overview and a crash coursein what Brown described as “the elegant and oft-times elusive intersection between the aesthetics of architectural form and the technology of structural design through the lens of earthquake engineering.” Curators Ghyslaine McClure and Effie Bouras, of the McGill University Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, based the work on their studies of the resiliency of emergency shelters, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings in seismic risk zones worldwide. The proliferation of “beautiful buildings that are feasible in very, very active seismic zones,” commented Prof. McClure, “is possible because all the professionals work together: the architects, the designers, and the engineers,” particularly geotechnical engineers. For every arresting new building with a dramatically cantilevered volume or an unorthodox load pattern, there’s a team of structural specialists ensuring that it can withstand seismic shocks as well as the more predictable challenges of gravity and wind stress.

Case studies explored in “Considering the Quake” include buildings in Taipei, Beijing, and Shenzhen by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), with engineering contributions by Arup; Studio Daniel Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, with OLMM Consulting Engineers; Studio SKLIM’s Hansha Reflection House in Nagoya, Japan; and work by Tipping Mar Engineers, Degenkolb Engineering, Star Seismic, and Kinetica Dynamics. Along with displays by SOFTlab and Pentagram, an array of shock-absorbing devices, and an active shake table with a seven-story building-skeleton model, the mezzanine-level window display (a thicket of manipulable vertical tubes with varied internal damping weights) gives visitors a tangible sense of how engineers counteract seismic resonance effects, which can amplify repairable levels of damage into general structural failure. Related panels and workshops organized by DfRR and the New York–Northeast Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) will also address earthquake preparation for professional audiences and families.

The technologies presented and discussed in the exhibition strive first to save lives and secondarily to mitigate physical and economic disruption. No building can be fully earthquake-proof, noted Troy Morgan, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Center for Urban Earthquake Engineering: codes call for levels of resilience that protect life, not immediate reoccupancy after a quake (a distinction that sometimes surprises property owners). Strategies for giving buildings a degree of flexibility, rather than a rigidity that would constitute fragility under seismic tension, include isolation and damping. Along with demonstrating the force-amplification measurements performed with the shake table’s accelerometers and analytic electronics, Morgan commented that a state-of-the-art isolation system, directing high forces onto a curved Teflon surface allowing a degree of lateral movement, can stabilize a low- to mid-rise building. In high-rises above about a 30- to 40-story “sweet spot,” wind forces can be a greater challenge than earthquakes, and seismic resilience strategies more often focus on viscous dampers that convert pressure to heat, safely dissipating large amounts of energy.

“In my point of view,” Morgan added, “the most dangerous buildings in New York for earthquakes are actually four- to five-story brownstones,” a dominant component of our residential stock, because masonry is inherently vulnerable. Food for thought, as public risk awareness expands from one category of calamity to another: at the first panel (02.27, “Are We on Shaky Ground? Earthquakes and New York City”) we’ll be hearing more about some fault lines that are less publicized than California’s but quite a bit closer to home.

Bill Millard is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Oculus, IconThe Architect’s Newspaper, and other publications.

Event: Considering the Quake: Seismic Design on the Edge
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.13.2014
Speakers: Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, 2014 AIANY President; Prof. Ghyslaine McClure, P.Eng. and Dr. Effie Bouras, McGill University Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, curators; Michael Szivos, Founder, SOFTlab; Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIANY
Organizers: Center for Architecture
Sponsors: Arup (underwriter); Allegion, Lutron, MechoSystems, Robert Silman Associates, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (patrons); Robin Reigi (sponsor); Microsoft (Surface Pros); Planar Systems (display screens)

Comments are closed.

56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron, one of Archtober 2017's Buildings of the Day. Credit: Iwan Baan.
Are You Ready for Archtober? At the Center for Architecture
Center for Architecture staff rolled up their sleeves to help Win students design and build their own tree house models. Pictured: AIANY/CFA Executive Director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA; Morgan Watson; and Camila Schaulsohn. Image courtesy of Win.
Engaging the Community through Design Learning Learning by Design
Credit: Center for Architecture
CLP Development Session III: Community Transformations through the Lens of Resiliency Chapter News
Hunter's Point Campus, Queens, NY. Rolland's role: Project Director. Image: David Sundberg/Esto.
Featured Member: Ann Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP Featured Member
Cocktails and Conversation: Peter Gluck and Inga Saffron, 09.08.17. Photo: Daniel Cole.
Peter Gluck and Inga Saffron Appraise the State of Architecture for Cocktails and Conversation Chapter News
Anthology Film Archives expansion by Bone/Levine Architects.
In the News In The News
Head_Image
Archtober is Coming! At the Center for Architecture
Credit: Center for Architecture
AIANY Members: Engage and Recommend Leaders Chapter News
Percy Griffin, AIA, interviewed at the Center for Architecture by Jack Travis at "Legends: 3 Harlem Architects, 4 Decades" in 2016. Credit: Center for Architecture
In Memoriam: Percy Griffin, AIA In Memoriam
Courtesy of AIA Houston.
Help the Architecture Center Houston AIA - Message From the Executive Director
Image courtesy the NYC Department of Buildings
DOB Proposes Rule for Additional Fees Policy and Advocacy
New Visions for Public Schools by Gruzen Samton LLP. Burke's role: Director of Interiors/Design Director. Photo: Mark Ross.
Featured Member: Mary Burke, FAIA Featured Member
Working together on the grouping exercise. Credit: Center for Architecture
CLP Development Session II: Facilitating Inclusive and Productive Engagement—Strategies and Struggles Chapter News
Woman´s March on NYC, 2017. Credit: Michael Kowalczyk ©/ Flickr.
Public Spaces, Social Movements: How Planning and Design Can Shape Public Discourse Policy and Advocacy
Names in the News In The News
“Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” closing 08.26.17. Credit: Erik Bardin.
On View Exhibitions
Moynihan Train Hall by SOM.  Credit: SOM, image via New York State Governor's Office.
In the News In The News
Sonali from our elementary school Fairytale Architecture program shows off her castle design. Credit: Center for Architecture.
Summer@theCenter Wraps Up Learning by Design
Yale University Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, New Haven, CT. Nieminen's role: Partner in Charge. Image: Cervin Robinson.
Featured Member: Michael Nieminen, FAIA Featured Member
Classifieds Classifieds
2100 Troll is Antarctica’s first megacity, its ringed megastructures each organized around a central green space. 2100: A Dystopian Utopia—The City After Climate Change, by Vanessa Keith/StudioTEKA (New York: Urban Research, 2017). Image: courtesy of Terreform.
Featured Member: Vanessa Keith, AIA Featured Member
Grand Central Terminal in Midtown East. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Policy Pulse: City Approves Midtown East Rezoning Policy and Advocacy
Myrtle-Wickoff Station Complex. Dugan's role: Principal in Charge. Image: Vanni Archives.
Featured Member: Jeffrey Dugan, AIA Featured Member
Bronx River House by Kiss + Cathcart Architects.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
2017 AIANY COTE Awards. Deadline: 09.17.17
New Deadlines In The News
"This Future Has a Past," on view through 09.12.17. Credit: Center for Architecture.
On View Exhibitions
Office loft / Maker space Hudson Yards Penn Station
Classifieds Classifieds
OBL/QUE, A Journal on Critical Conversation published by Harvard GSD, is the winner of the  2017 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals.
Announcing the 2017 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals Recipient At the Center for Architecture
At SpeakUp 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
Policy Pulse: AIA Hosts Annual SpeakUp Event Policy and Advocacy
Community Mural, 116th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Photo: Shilpa Patel.
Challenges of Engaging Locally: Civic Leadership Program Opens Discussion Chapter News
Member Survey: How Are Firms Helping Members Grow Professionally? Chapter News
Design educator Hadley Beacham performs a structural test for a triangulated model. Credit: Center for Architecture
Youth Explore Architecture at K-12 Summer Design Programs Learning by Design
New York Public Library 53rd Street Branch by TEN Arquitectos. Steele's role: Principal in Charge/Project Architect. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Andrea Steele, AIA Featured Member
LOT-EK's Hi-LIGHTS has won the international competition for the Gateways Public Art Commission in Gold Coast, Australia. Image: LOT-EK.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
Submit your sustainable projects to the 2017 AIANY COTE Awards!
New Deadlines In The News
"This Future Has a Past," on view through 09.12.17. Credit: Center for Architecture
On View Exhibitions
111 West 57th Street, New York, NY, by SHoP Architects. Brainard's role: Enclosure Lead. Image: Hayes Davidson.
Featured Member: Gabrielle Brainard, AIA Featured Member
Congratulations to @babkwth for winning our first-ever #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge.
Field Condition Names Winners in Debut #ArchtoberSelects Instagram Challenge At the Center for Architecture
CLP 2017 Inaugural class: (l-r) Ayodele Yusuf, Jenna Leigh Wandishin, Daniel Horn (back row), Michael Caton, Michaela Metcalfe, Christina Hernandez, A.L. Hu, Shilpa Patel, Jack Dinning, Jessica Morris. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: Announcing 2017 Civic Leadership Program Class Policy and Advocacy
AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee Civic Leadership Program (CLP) kick off at the Center for Architecture. Credit: Center for Architecture.
Civic Leadership Program Kicks Off Chapter News
Nike New York Headquarters by Studios Architecture and Workplace Design + Connectivity. Photos courtesy of Nike.
In the News In The News
Names in the News In The News
Submit your work to the 2017 AIANY COTE Awards!
New Deadlines In The News
The Bier House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in "Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” on view through 08.26.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View Exhibitions
Public Square by FXFOWLE. Image: FXFOWLE/Driverless Future Challenge.
Driverless Future Challenge Names Winner Chapter News
Apartment, New York. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Leonard Kady, AIA Featured Member
A temporal collage of the historic site by Seher Erdogan Ford.
Announcing the Recipients of the 2017 Arnold W. Brunner Grant for Architectural Research Chapter News
Hyper-Efficient Building Workshop on 06.14.17 and 06.15.17. Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: New Hyper-Efficient Building Training Launches Policy and Advocacy