History has shown that preparing for future earthquakes is a complex process that involves a clear understanding of what can happen, how to best respond, how much mitigation to invest in, and the persistence to remain at a constant state of readiness. Strengthening buildings to minimize damage is more that a decision to bring them up to code. Strengthening must be a good investment that will protect people, property, and the operation of the institution to the extent that is appropriate. Three of the Seismic projects at Stanford illustrate three different approaches to mitigation, each tailored to the historic significance of the building, each specifically tuned to a unique performance objective, and each implemented using the best available technology to minimize the cost of seismic strengthening.
The Stanford Memorial Church underwent a complete rehabilitation that included competing the seismic system to the point that the future seismic damage would always be repairable. A cost was high and the value of protecting this centerpiece of the University was higher. The Cantor Museum was a survivor of two significant earthquakes, but not because it was code compliant. Only minimal retrofit was needed to allow this building to sustain its unorthodox ability to resist strong earthquakes. The Mitchell Earth Sciences building was well designed and just needed a bit more help to arrest the movements that would endanger the occupants. A few well places shearwalls were all that was needed to protect lives.
This is the fifth lecture in series sponsored by Stanford University's Quake '06 Alliance and University of California, Berkeley commemorating the 1906 Earthquake that cause massive destruction at Stanford University. The series will focus both on the historical and social perspectives of the 1906 Earthquake as well as the earth science, earthquake engineering, preparedness and disaster relief in order to prepare us for future earthquakes.