Brian Breukelman
Principal - Sector Leader, Buildings
Stantec Ltd., Calgary

The use of damping systems to control wind-induced vibration or seismic motion is approaching 50 years. Projects featuring these systems have been regularly presented at CTBUH Conferences around the globe. With significant world-wide use and acceptance, CTBUH has recently published “Damping Technologies for Tall Buildings” focusing on theory, design, guidance and case studies for these systems.

These technical advances and continuing densification of our cities is leading to the design and construction of many supertall structures. Advances in other technologies such as elevator/lift systems are following suit, enabling taller and more slender structures with each iteration. Building codes and analysis techniques are also being advanced in parallel, providing robust technical rationale for providing required occupant comfort and safety.

A retrospective will be provided on the use of a variety of damping systems and their adoption in various countries, including commentary on complementary advances in codes/analysis techniques. Implementing these systems has involved significant innovations and also taken risks against widely held design philosophies of the day. This gives us a 50-year history of developing performance-based design approaches for vibration control of buildings.

When looking to the next 50 years, the possibilities seem endless. A number of potential advances in damping systems and vibration control are reviewed, and suggested research and development efforts are summarized, giving a historical context to the use of damping systems around the globe and offering some thoughts on the future of vibration control.