63. VIRTUAL BASE ISOLATION BY BUILDING SOFTENING WITH DRIFT CONTROL PROVIDED BY FLUID VISCOUS DAMPERS

The paper describes “virtual isolation” for buildings with one or more soft stories. Using the 1999 SEAOC Blue Book (SEAOC, 1999) recommendations for passive energy dissipation, the building’s Lateral Force Resisting System (LFRS) is designed for strength requirements only, resulting in a relatively flexible LFRS, while Fluid Viscous Dampers (FVD) are incorporated to limit story drifts to acceptable levels. There are many benefits to this “virtual isolation” system. With the elimination of the maximum drift requirements, the moment frames are substantially lighter than a traditionally framed building, thus lowering the structural steel cost of the LFRS. The long period structure also produces significantly reduced forces in the foundation elements. Velocity and displacement are reduced significantly through the use of the FVDs, which protects the sensitive contents of the building. These benefits lead to a reduced response resulting in an enhanced performance level during a major seismic event.