The design of tall buildings essentially involves a conceptual design, approximate analysis, preliminary design and optimization, to safely carry gravity and lateral loads. The design criteria are, strength, serviceability, stability and human comfort. The strength is satisfied by limit stresses, while serviceability is satisfied by drift limits in the range of H/500 to H/1000. Stability is satisfied by sufficient factor of safety against buckling and P-Delta effects.
The factor of safety is around 1.67 to 1.92. The human comfort aspects are satisfied by accelerations in the range of 10 to 25 milli-g, where g=acceleration due to gravity, about 981cms/sec^2. The aim of the structural engineer is to arrive at suitable structural schemes, to satisfy these criteria, and assess their structural weights in weight/unit area in square feet or square meters. This initiates structural drawings and specifications to enable construction engineers to proceed with fabrication and erection operations. The weight of steel in lbs/sqft or in kg/sqm is often a parameter the architects and construction managers are looking for from the structural engineer.
This includes the weights of floor system, girders, braces and columns. The premium for wind, is optimized to yield drifts in the range of H/500, where H is the height of the tall building. Herein, some aspects of the design of gravity system, and the lateral system, are explored. Preliminary design and optimization steps are illustrated with examples of actual tall buildings designed by CBM Engineers, Houston, Texas, with whom the author has been associated with during the past 3 decades. Dr.Joseph P.Colaco, its President, has been responsible for the tallest buildings in Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C, and with the author in its design staff as a Senior Structural Engineer. Research in the development of approximate methods of analysis, and preliminary design and optimization, has been conducted at WPI, with several of the author’s graduate students.
These are also illustrated. Software systems to do approximate analysis of shear-wall frame, framed-tube, out rigger braced tall buildings are illustrated. Advanced Design courses in reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, as well as structural steel design at WPI, use these systems. Research herein, was supported by grants from NSF, Bethlehem Steel, and Army.