Three-storey building retrofit: rocking isolation versus conventional design

Ioannis Anastasopoulos, Vasileios Drosos, Nonika Antonaki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Although modern seismic codes have undoubtedly led to safer structures, the seismic vulnerability of metropolitan areas is unavoidably governed by that of older buildings, which constitute the vast majority of the current building stock. Quite alarmingly, even relatively moderate intensity earthquakes have been proven capable of challenging their structural integrity, leading to severe damage or collapse. Therefore, there is an urgent need to assess the vulnerability of existing structures and to evaluate the efficiency of novel retrofit techniques. This paper studies experimentally the seismic performance of an existing three-storey building, retrofitted through addition of shear walls. Emphasis is placed on the foundation of the shear walls, and two design alternatives are comparatively assessed: (a) conventional design according to current seismic codes and (b) 'rocking isolation' by reducing the size of the foundation. A series of reduced-scale shaking table tests are conducted at the Laboratory of Soil Mechanics of the National Technical University of Athens. The physical model encompasses the structural system, along with the foundations, and the soil. The nonlinearity of structural members is simulated through specially designed and carefully calibrated artificial plastic hinges. The vulnerability of the original structure is confirmed, as it is found to collapse with a soft-storey mechanism when subjected to moderate intensity shaking. The conventionally retrofitted structure is proven capable of sustaining larger intensity shaking, and the rocking-isolated structure is shown to offer increased safety margins. Thanks to its inherent self-centering mechanism, the rocking system is characterized by reduced permanent drifts. 

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1235-1254
    Number of pages20
    JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2015


    • Dynamic response
    • Physical modelling
    • Rocking
    • Seismic retrofit
    • Shaking table testing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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