The Torre Mayor Tower: The Sky of Mexico

Essay by fpetrellUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, August 2006

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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...