Throughout the years we have had the pleasure of working on some of the tallest buildings in the world. The latest mega-project that we are working on is the Costanera Center in Santiago, Chile. The photograph below shows the Gran Torre Santiago, the marquis building of the complex at almost 1000 feet tall, the tallest building in South America and second tallest in the Southern Hemisphere.
With tall buildings come big design challenges, but the high seismic risk in Chile took this design to new heights. In addition to supplying our standard isolation and seismic restraint, we were asked to supply flex connectors that could handle the large anticipated seismic movements. We were asked to design a flex with 6″ all-directional movement at a working pressure of 300 psi at diameters upwards of 26″. Most people said it was impossible, but we knew that if we put our heads together we could come up with a solution. After a lot of thought, cursing, and trial and error, we came to the design shown below in a few pictures. The design incorporates 4 arches to accept the movements and anti-squirm guides that are required to keep a joint of this length from squirming.
Although construction of the upper floors is still underway, the lower floors of the center complete with a massive multi-level shopping mall and numerous restaurants are fully completed and operational with our flex connectors, vibration isolation and seismic restraint. We have just completed fabrication of more joints for the remainder of the project due to the success we have seen with the first set.
It should be noted that the seismic restraint and snubber systems that we designed and supplied for the early stages of the project passed with flying colors during the Magnitude 8.8 Earthquake in Chile in February of 2010.
Please keep your “impossible” design challenges coming our way, we are committed to developing new products to meet your requirements.
Sales Manager – South America