Seismic collapse performance of high-rise RC dual system buildings in subduction zones

Marco F. Gallegos, Gerardo Araya-Letelier, Diego Lopez-Garcia, Pablo F. Parra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The satisfactory ‘collapse prevention’ performance level of reinforced concrete (RC) buildings has been widely recognized during recent earthquakes in Chile. However, there is limited research on the actual level of seismic collapse protection. In this study, the seismic collapse behavior of high-rise RC dual wall-frame buildings representative of the Chilean inventory is quantitatively evaluated. A suite of four 16-story structural archetypes was carefully selected and code-based designed assuming two different locations (i.e., high and moderate seismicity zones) and two different soil types (i.e., very stiff and moderately stiff soils). The archetypes were analyzed considering the latest developments in performance-based earthquake engineering implementing incremental dynamic analyses for 3D nonlinear models with sets of Chilean subduction ground motions. Results, expressed in terms of the probability of collapse conditioned on the Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE) hazard level (<10%) and the collapse probability in 50 years (<1%), showed that all archetypes fully met the targets specified by ASCE 7 for an acceptable ‘life safety’ risk level. These results indeed explain why a very small number of RC building collapses was observed in the recent megathrust earthquakes (Mw>8.0) in Chile. Nevertheless, it was also found that the seismic collapse performance is not uniform, due mainly to the soil type. This observation suggests that the design spectra indicated by the Chilean seismic design code for buildings might need to be revised.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02042
JournalCase Studies in Construction Materials
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Collapse performance
  • High-rise building
  • Incremental dynamic analysis
  • RC dual system
  • Subduction zone


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