This is an academic project by students at the Architecture School of Universidad de Santiago of Chile. They begin by studying a series of sculptures that present concepts of mass and equilibrium. They deduct how the efforts are being distributed and how the shape of the sculpture enables this. Afterwards, they are asked to design a tower structure that must support vertical and horizontal loads. The models are built with balsa wood sticks of 2×10 mm, with a base dimension of 15×15 cm and a height of 70 cm. These models are later tested in a seismic table while being charged with 3 to 5 kg.
They begin working with models that are glued together to develop the shape of the prototype. After 2 tests, they are no longer allowed to use glue. Instead, they develop assemblies and ties that provoke new changes in their designs, with 2 more tests on the seismic table. With each test, the students evaluate their designs and make adjustments to improve the model resistance.
The objective of this work is to introduce students to seismic resistance concepts, a very important issue in Chile. The main goal is to present these concepts not as restrictions, but as a new aspect to consider during the designing process. As a result, students start to incorporate this criteria to their design workshop projects.