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There are four virtues that any earthquake resistant buildings should have to a certain extent in order to withstand designated seismic forces. The virtues of earthquake resistant buildings are structural configurations, lateral strength of the building, adequate stiffness, and ductility.

In order to achieve these invaluable characteristics and construct earthquake resistant structures, both structural engineer and architectural engineer need to cooperate. This is because the former responsible for the safety and stability of the structure whereas the lateral established buildings form, aesthetics, functionality, and comfort.

What are the Four Virtues of Earthquake Resistant Buildings?

1. Structural Configuration

It involves geometry; shape; and size of the building, location and size of structural elements, and location and size of significant non-structural elements. The configuration of the structure should guarantee a direct and smooth flow of inertia forces to the ground. Regular building shapes are more desirable than irregular ones that may introduce complexities to the load transfer path. The provision of joints in buildings can render irregular buildings into regular ones.

Structural Configurations
Fig. 1: Structural Configurations

2. Lateral Strength

The ability of the structure to withstand maximum lateral or horizontal force without experiencing irreparable damages. Buildings can be designed to have certain lateral strength by appropriately proportioning the size and material of the members.

Lateral Deformation
Fig. 2: Lateral Deformation

3. Adequate Stiffness

It is the lateral load resisting system of the building such that the earthquake-induced deformations in it does not damage its contents under low-to moderate shaking.

Fig. 3: Stiffness

4. Ductility

It is the capacity of the building to undergo large deformations under severe earthquake shaking even after yielding, thereby providing enough time for occupants to evacuate in case of a failure. Ductility is improved by favorable design and detailing strategies.

Graphical Illustrations of Ductility
Fig. 4: Graphical Illustrations of Ductility
Ductile Building Versus Brittle Building
Fig. 5: Ductile Building Versus Brittle Building

Read More:

What are the Effects of Earthquake on Structures?

10 Construction Mistakes to Avoid in Earthquake-Prone Areas

Performance Levels of Buildings Against Earthquakes

Factors Affecting Degree of Earthquake Damages to Buildings

Principles of Conceptual Design of Earthquake Resistant Structures

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Madeh Izat Hamakareem

Madeh Izat Hamakareem

Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner at

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