This Earthquake-Proof Building Is Anchored By a Net of Cables


Today's engineers have an arsenal of tricks they can use when designing structures for earthquake-prone areas. And while some innovations like sliding walls and shock absorbers are relatively discreet, the network of cables keeping this Japanese building stable is difficult to miss.

As reported by Fast Co. Exist, this lab and office building in the southern Japanese city of Nomi has been outfitted with a series of carbon fiber rods that anchor it to the ground like a circus tent. The material used to make them is stronger, lighter, and more pliable than regular metal. If an earthquake hits, the net is meant to keep the building in place as the ground moves beneath it.

Synthetic fiber and a thermoplastic resin coating envelop the rods' carbon fiber core. In addition to the cables on top of the building and the ones connecting the roof to the ground, a lattice of rods inside reinforces the structure's windows and walls.

These earthquake-proofing precautions weren't part of the building's original construction. Rather, they were features engineers were able to add later without dismantling the entire structure. Approximately 1500 earthquakes hit Japan every year, and they range from small tremors to ones like (or exceeding) the 6.5 and 7.3 magnitude quakes that hit Kumamoto back-to-back earlier this month. This design from architect Kengo Kuma shows that older buildings, like those that were damaged in the twin quakes, can still be modified for earthquake resistance. You can watch Kuma explain the design process in the video above.

Header/banner images via YouTube.

[h/t Fast Co. Exist]