Building a tall building on top of a tall mountain where the wind whips around at 30 miles per hour at ground level practically every day is a challenge. The higher up we are building, the more forces we get from the wind. Before we even started our plans and 3D modeling, we participated in ETABS watch and learn lessons to understand more about designing the shear walls in our newly planned tall building. The other structures up here are not over four stories tall. This is the first experiment in a tall building on this mountain top.
We know that the materials and engineering concepts exist to make our building safe and durable. We just needed to brush up on things to be certain about every detail. Shear walls inside tall structures are made to let the building move in the wind or when the ground moves in an earthquake. One might think that a sturdy building will not move an inch. However, such a structure would collapse in the wind or even a minor earth tremor. If you have ever been in a skyscraper on the top floor, the building moves. Most move more than a foot as the wind blows. You are not likely to perceive it, but it does move.
The ability of a building to flex constantly in the wind or when the ground shakes keeps it standing. The energy of the wind or a ground shake needs to be dissipated. If your building just absorbs the energy, it can cause stresses so great that it tears itself apart. Walls and floors can crack, and the steel and concrete infrastructure can tear and crumble. The building needs shear walls that will let if flex and sway to dissipate energy. Learning the latest in 3D design was helpful for us to get our project underway.