Colombian university

The new science building of EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia’s second biggest city, is being constructed on mageba seismic isolators to ensure its safety during future earthquakes.

EAFIT University’s “Edificio de Ciencias” is an eight-storey building, currently under construction, with 13,600 m2 [146,389 sq.ft.] of floor area dedicated to research, development and innovation in various subjects.

Due to the significant risk of destructive earthquakes in the area, it was considered necessary to design and construct the building in such a way that it would survive a strong earthquake and protect its users from harm. Using data gained from a microzonation study, a seismic isolation solution was developed and implemented in cooperation with mageba. In essence, this involves constructing the new building on top of twelve seismic isolator bearings of the LASTO®LRB (lead rubber bearing) type. These isolators were specially designed, considering the building’s design characteristics and the anticipated seismic ground movements, to support the building in normal service conditions but to largely de-couple the building from sudden, violent ground movements while dissipating much of the seismic energy and re-centring the building after the event to maintain its serviceability. The lead rubber bearings, each designed to accommodate 25,000 kN [5,618 kips] of vertical load and ±200 mm [7.8"] of horizontal movement, are equipped with anchor plates to facilitate easier replacement should the need ever arise. The application of this highly effective solution makes this the first isolated structure of its kind in Medellin – but considering the convincing cost/benefit trade-off, it is very unlikely to be the last.

“It is a great honor to implement the very first seismically isolated building in Medellin, Colombia. This was possible thanks to the strong collaboration of all the parts involved, starting from EAFIT university, always looking for ways to innovate, and to ensure the safety of its members and its infrastructure. At the same time, the key roles of the structural engineer, Alianza Diseños, and the designers of the seismic isolation system, efe-Prima-ce, were essential to make this project a reality. At mageba Group, we are proud to continue promoting and supporting the implementation of seismic protection technologies in Latin America.”

Dr. Carlos Mendez, Chief Technical Officer Americas and CEO mageba Mexico, and Fabio Pellegrini, CEO mageba Colombia

Artist’s impression of the building when completed and in service

Laboratory testing of a LASTO®LRB seismic isolator for the project

Construction site showing the concrete piers upon which the LASTO®LRB seismic isolators will be located

Installation of one of the seismic isolators with mageba “hands on” supervision

The LASTO®LRB units feature anchor plates to facilitate easy replacement should the need ever arise