In April, UBC Seismic embarked on a journey to San Francisco to represent their university in the highly competitive EERI Seismic Design Competition. Competing against 34 universities from around the world, the team showcased their exceptional skills and dedication, earning them several achievements. One of the team’s standout accomplishments in the EERI Seismic Design Competition was receiving the Best Communications Skills Award, which is based on the team’s cumulative scores from their proposal, presentation, and poster performance.
The team’s participation in this year’s competition involved designing and constructing a remarkable 5-foot-tall balsa wood high-rise structure. This structure was specifically engineered to withstand two distinct ground motions provided by the competition organizers. To accomplish this, the team developed a comprehensive architectural concept, created a physical model, and conducted rigorous structural analysis of the tower.
Prior to the competition, UBC Seismic dedicated their efforts to building two towers throughout the school year. The first tower served as a prototype, allowing the team to refine their techniques and strategies. The second tower, the competition tower, represented the culmination of their hard work and determination. Both towers underwent rigorous ground motion testing at the prestigious Earthquake Engineering Research Facility at UBC, where their resilience and stability were thoroughly assessed.
Although their tower collapsed during the competition, their exceptional performance still earned them the second highest overall score. The team embraced the valuable lessons learned from this experience, knowing that they will only strengthen their future endeavors. Besides, the bonds formed and the experience gained as part of a collaborative design team make the journey worthwhile, regardless of the contest results.
Sito Bello-Boulet, the team’s Design Lead and Captain, highlighted that the competition goes beyond the technical aspects, as it provides invaluable experiences and the opportunity to forge lasting connections.
“Being a part of the seismic design team is more than just being part of a competition. It’s a great way to meet people in other years and faculties that you might not have met otherwise. In the end even if the contest results aren’t what you expected it’s worth it just for the people you meet along the way and the experience you get being part of a design team,” said Bello-Boulet.
Looking ahead, the team plan to conduct a thorough review of the lessons learned from the previous year’s design and perform detailed analyses of the tower’s structural integrity. In addition, they intend to incorporate elements of local culture and history into their designs, ensuring that their structures are not only visually striking but also rooted in the community they represent.