Page T1.1 . 14 May 2008                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
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Super Seismic Medical Center

by Susan Smith

The Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, currently under construction in Burlingame, California, will be the first "base-isolated" hospital in northern California.

Built on isolator bearings with seismic dampers, the building was designed by Anshen + Allen to remain operational after a major seismic event. During an earthquake, the building can move up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) horizontally and two inches (five centimeters) vertically without incurring major damage.

Mark Tiscornia, project manager at Anshen + Allen, says that the building was not originally intended to be a base-isolated structure. In fact, Mills-Peninsula was planned to be a standard structure, to be built using 2D construction drawings.

The decision to build the facility as a base-isolated structure was made during design development because of the site's proximity to the San Andreas Fault.

And just before construction, the client, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, decided it also wanted a 3D building information model (BIM) for the purpose of collision detection. Tiscornia and his team used Graphisoft's ArchiCAD® BIM software to create the model.

Base-Isolated Seismic Design

Seismic design typically involves a flexible structure — one that will literally flex during an earthquake. This flexibility allows the structure to remain standing, but it can subject the building contents to large forces during an earthquake.   >>>

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The Mills-Peninsula Medical Center is currently under construction in Burlingame, California.
Image: Anshen + Allen Extra Large Image

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Anshen + Allen designed the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, which features a system of isolator bearings with seismic dampers intended to allow the hospital to operate after a major seismic event.
Image: Anshen + Allen Extra Large Image


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