In 2017, LEVER joined the NHERI TallWood Project, an interdisciplinary research collaborative of university and industry professionals funded by the National Science Foundation to study the seismic resiliency of wood structures. That year, our team worked to build on our research from the Framework project to develop a series of wood structure archetypes that could be used to study the resiliency of wood structures, including a two-story structure that we built and tested on a shake table.

In 2022, our research team is preparing for seismic testing of a new 10-story structure, which is currently under construction at an outdoor shake table facility at University of California, San Diego. This test will build on our previous work and advance our understanding of wood structure resilience, but differs from the two-story test in a few significant ways.

The 10-story structure is a high-rise building, with higher loads and a much larger scale than the low-rise two-story structure tested in 2017. It will be the tallest wood structure put to a full-scale seismic test, and the data that this test will yield will be unprecedented. The two-story structure was tested on a two-axis table, meaning that the shaking motion was strictly side to side. The 10-story test will occur on a three-axis table, which offers a more realistic shaking motion that better replicates the experience of an earthquake and will give us better information about the structure’s resilience.

Another way that the 10-story structure differs from two-story we tested previously is the multitude of deck materials included in the structure: CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber), GLT (Glue-Laminated Timber), NLT (Nail-Laminated Timber), DLT (Dowl-Laminated Timber), VLT (Veneer-Laminated Timber), and Mass Plywood are all included in this structure, providing useful information about the performance and seismic resilience of each material.

NHERI TallWood Project’s research will provide the foundation for new engineering design guides for incorporating rocking walls (like those we developed for Framework) into seismically resilient tall wood structures. By sharing our testing data for analysis, our team hopes that our work will help others to navigate code review and requirements in new jurisdictions - and perhaps one day, it will inform broader code updates.

NHERI TallWood Project’s livestream shows the construction progress on the 10-story structure - follow along at this link and follow LEVER for updates.

The first rocking wall panel is installed on the 10-story structure. Photo by Shiling Pei

A model video shows the design for the 10-story structure set for seismic testing in 2022, currently under construction at UC San Diego.