Parque Araucano Building

Located in Nueva Las Condes, this building is a milestone in Chilean seismic engineering, having two Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD’s) installed in its interior, designed and cast by VMB, being the first to be installed anywhere in South America. These consist of two suspended concrete blocks, weighing 150 tons each, which are located on the 22nd floor, and they seize advantage of a natural phenomenon in which, by making the pendulum have the same vibration period as that of the building, they move in opposite directions to it. Thus, the pendulum brings the building back to its resting position.

These TMD’s are responsible for greatly reducing the damage caused by earthquakes, a fact amply demonstrated during the big earthquake of the 27th of February, 2010: zero structural and content-wise damage, assure VMB engineers, whose offices reside within this building. This technological feat was made possible thanks to the interest vested in superior seismic performance by the Parque Araucano building’s property development company.

One of the main problems facing seismic engineering is the fact that most property developers aren’t willing to raise costs to make use of top-of-the-line technology. In this case in particular, however, the cost of both dampeners was a mere 0.6% of the building’s total construction cost, according to VMB partners Rodrigo Mujica and Leopoldo Breschi.

In the following months, high-tech viscous dampeners will be installed, which will enhance the TMD’s performance. These devices are being built by FIP Industriale in Italy, and they also built the dampeners for Taipei 101 tower, one of the tallest in the world. The main function of these dampeners is to broaden the range of frequencies at which the TMD’s can function to counteract seismic movements.