Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Architecture - Architectural Engineering




Peter Laursen


Existing methods of evaluating the structural system of a building after a seismic event consist of removing architectural elements such as drywall, cladding, insulation, and fireproofing. This method is destructive and costly in terms of downtime and repairs. This research focuses on removing the guesswork by using forced vibration testing (FVT) to experimentally determine the health of a building. The experimental structure is a one-story, steel, bridge-like structure with removable braces. An engaged brace represents a nominal and undamaged condition; a dis-engaged brace represents a brace that has ruptured thus changing the stiffness of the building. By testing a variety of brace configurations, a set of experimental data is collected that represents potential damage to the building after an earthquake. Additionally, several unknown parameters of the building’s substructure, lateral-force-resisting-system, and roof diaphragm are determined through FVT.

A suite of computer models with different levels of damage are then developed. A quantitative analysis procedure compares experimental results to the computer models. Models that show high levels of correlation to experimental brace configurations identify the extent of damage in the experimental structure. No testing or instrumentation of the building is necessary before an earthquake to identify if, and where, damage has occurred.

Award received:

Outstanding Thesis Award