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The Torre Mayor Tower: The Sky Of Mexico

1246 words - 5 pages

Abstract: The Torre Mayor Tower is the largest tower constructed in Latin and South America. The engineers on the project invoked some interesting and intelligent concepts in their design of the tower. Some of their practices will set a standard for the rest of the world for tall buildings built in seismic zones.The Torre Mayor Building is a 57-story office tower that was constructed in Mexico City, Mexico, in summer 2003. Once completed, the tower became the tallest building in Mexico and Latin America. Its height is 225m above ground and it extends down into the earth by 4-stories. Now for decades the United States has built much taller buildings than the Torre Mayor, but the fact that the Torre Mayor is being built in one of the highest seismic zones in Mexico makes it unique. There is a lot of seismic energy in Mexico City and any tower that tall would have to be built to withstand a major earthquake. The engineers that designed the tower utilized many innovative engineering concepts such as supplemental damping, the outside design and internal structural system design, the bracing, and the subterranean foundation to help the tower absorb the seismic energy.The first ingenious concept that the engineers used was supplemental dampers (Figures 1,2) to reduce the inside and overall sway of the tower and absorb vibrations from seismic forces. The dampers absorb the energy by moving In and out so that the structural system doesn't take all the movement. They basically work like shocks on a car, but they are packed with a viscous fluid for a smooth absorption. The dampers give the building a greater comfort level.The engineers then had to decide where the dampers would be placed. They used engineering software to test where the dampers should go. They studied the response of the building by simulating a ground vibration that measured 8.2 on the Richter scale to help determine where the dampers would be utilized best. Also the engineers had to take into account the type of damper and the capacity that it would withstand in their selection of the dampers' placement. Seventy-two dampers are placed within the core truss system, and twenty-four dampers are placed as part of the perimeter bracing system. The engineers achieved maximum damping for the building by "placing them between two lateral systems comprised of truss system, front system or wall system or any combination of them. This unique application resulted in a U.S. Patent Grant" (Rahimian 2003). The dampers proved their worthiness on January 21, 2003 when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit Mexico City. The bottom floors of the tower had already been occupied. The Torre Mayor survived with no damage and most of the occupants reported no awareness of the earthquake (Post 2003). The overall concept of supplemental damping and damper placement helps make the design of a tower in a seismic zone possible (Rahimian 2003) .The Torre Mayor's outside design and internal structural system are other aspects...

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