NHERI TallWood Project: Seismically Resilient Tall Wood Buildings

November 15, 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm MDT

Workshop Overview

Wood has thousands of years of history as a building material but has also been restricted by building codes and regulations following the industrial revolution. Wood building is viewed as a cost-effective, but less engineered system mainly for low-rise options. Mass timber construction is a relatively new way of utilizing wood material for modern, high performance buildings at both large and small scales. It gives rise to the currently trending conception of wooden sky-scrapers.

The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) TallWood project aims to prove the resilience of tall timber buildings by simulating a series of large earthquakes on a full-scale, 10-story mass timber building. This is the world's tallest full-scale building ever tested on an earthquake shake table. The key feature of the building is a post-tensioned rocking wall system built from mass timber panels. The building also features a variety of nonstructural systems, including four exterior fa├žade assemblies, a number of interior walls, and a 10-story stair tower. The structural and non-structural systems of the building were designed to withstand repetitive large earthquakes without damage.

The entire test program just concluded in August 2023 and the results demonstrated that it is feasible to construct tall wood buildings that are earthquake resilient. This presentation will introduce the design, construction, and testing of the NHERI TallWood building and share preliminary test results.


Dr. Shiling Pei received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in December 2007 and joined the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado School of Mines in Fall 2013. Before that, he worked as an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University from 2010 to 2013. His research focused on multi-hazard mitigation through performance based engineering, numerical modeling of structural dynamic behavior, traditional and innovative timber systems, and large-scale dynamic testing. Dr. Pei received the 2012 ASCE Raymond C. Reese Research Prize for his work on seismic performance of mid-rise wood frame building. He is the author of the Seismic Analysis Package for Woodframe Structures (SAPWood) as part of the NSF (NEESR) funded NEESWood project, and served as one of the lead researchers in shake table testing of a full-scale 7-story wood-steel hybrid building at Japan's E-defense shake table. He is currently leading an NSF funded six-university collaboration effort to develop seismic design methodology for resilient tall cross laminated timber (CLT) buildings. Dr. Pei is a registered Professional Engineer in State of California.

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