This was my first year acting as the design lead for the CU Seismic Design Team. Through a collaborative process with a multidisciplinary team, we were able to develop a unique building which was far more profitable than the majority of attending teams.
Our structural design used a hexagonal structural core in combination with a novel system of tension buttresses. Opposed to rectangular structures, this design made our structure omnidirectionally resistant to seismic loads. It also made our structure very stiff, which minimizes damage expenses during seismic activity. Our architectural design consisted of a base structure which tied our design into the surrounding architecture. Out of this, hexagonal floors begin to change size and rotate. Once the hexagons become too large to fit within the plot for our structure, the hexagons stop growing and rotating; instead, the curvature and accents at the top of the building are defined by arc-tangent and decay functions.
I was fortunate enough to be given to opportunity to travel to this year’s Seismic Design Competition in Portland, Oregon, my second year traveling with the team. At the competition, we were afforded the wonderful opportunity to learn from the designs and experiences of seismic design teams from around the world. This has given our team the inspiration we needed to push our next design to be something great.
This is a learning process for our team. We have not been historically successful at this competition but we are at a turning point. We are looking at every failure we have run into and using them as tools to learn. This year, we made a high risk decision: We decided not to assemble the most fragile portion of our structure until we arrived at the competition in Portland. The goal was to avoid damaging these pieces in the shipping proccess; however, this decision lead to us unwittingly building a structure which was overweight by a tragic 0.03 lb. This immediately pushed our team towards the bottom of the rankings. Despite this setback, our structure performed better than ever and through our analysis, our team would have been competitive for the top few ranks.
Next year, I will co-captain the team in addition to serving as the design lead. The leadership of the team has intends for 2018 to be the year that the CU Seismic Design Team becomes the team to look out for. We missed our mark by 0.03 lbs in 2017 but we have adjusted, learned from our experiences, failures, and other teams from around the world.