Fast Company spoke with LEVER Principals Thomas Robinson and Jonathan Heppner about the NHERI Tall Wood Project’s breakthrough seismic testing of a ten story mass timber structure. Developed by LEVER, the project’s innovative mass timber rocking wall design allows the tower to rock and recenter itself during an earthquake without significant damage.

“In an earthquake, most buildings are designed to be super stiff. They don’t fall over, but they may be crushed in the process of resisting that force,” says Thomas Robinson, founder of Lever. Many buildings survive earthquakes by simply not falling but are so internally damaged that they are unsafe to occupy and often have to be torn down. “What this system does is it takes the force and allows it to be distributed as the building moves, and then brings it back to center.”

Read more about the testing on our innovations page and at Fast Company.