The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Items filtered by date: Monday, 16 March 2015

Constructed in 2006, just outside Kadonowaki, Japan, the Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital stands as a monument to civil engineering. The five-story, 402-bed hospital operated at full capacity during and immediately after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan in 2011. Surrounding the building like a moat, the hospital’s base isolation system enabled its survival without even a broken window. The steel springs and rubber dampers of the isolation system, that support the hospital, reduced the horizontal displacement of the building to just 26 centimeters. Engineers, also, estimate that several more earthquakes of similar magnitude can be sustained before the base isolation springs need replacement. Japan’s long history with earthquakes has fostered a significant culture of seismic design and much of its infrastructure is useable after an event.