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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 23, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2009

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Volume 23, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2009

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UB Team Shakes it up in Salt Lake City

The University at Buffalo team poses with the structure they designed at the seismic design competition

The UB team was one of eighteen to compete at this year’s undergraduate seismic design competition.

A team of undergraduates from the University at Buffalo competed in the Sixth Annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition. The team was one of eighteen to participate in the yearly competition, which was held at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Annual Meeting on February 11-14, 2009.

The UB team of David Hastings, captain, Nick Montaldi, Kyle Duck, Claude Semexant, Ethan Gew, Chih Kai Chang, Zoran Umicevic and Richard Skomra traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, bringing the balsa wood commercial office building they designed and built for the event. Lenore Dunnah, Ha Nool Oh and Wai Lun Tsang also participated in the design and construction of the model.

During the competition, the model was tested on a shake table to ground motions simulating the 1940 El Centro, 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe earthquakes. Structures were built to maximize floor space for tenants while minimizing seismic damage, and were evaluated based on architectural design, structural innovation and financial return for the client over the life of the structure. Additional points were awarded for the teams’ posters and power point presentations.

The competition was sponsored by EERI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Computers & Structures, Inc., Degenkolb and Digitexx. Cal Poly San Louis Obispo won this year’s contest, with Brigham Young University placing second, and Oregon State University placing third.

More on this event and the previous undergraduate seismic design competitions is available at