The 73-story-tall Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles, expected to be completed by 2017, is well underway to become the tallest building on the west coast. However, due to its geographical location—the San Andreas Fault is only 46 miles away—the tall structure needed to be engineered specifically to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 7.4. Engineers were tasked with not only testing how the building would react to seismic activity, but also, because of its slender form, how it could endure high winds.
Using a digital model, engineers for the project determined that they would need a central core that stretched five floors below ground level and 850 feet above, supported by three rings of three-story-tall buckle-resistant braces that act as shock absorbents. The building's 17.5-foot-thick foundation broke the record for largest continuous concrete pour in history, in order to make sure it could help keep the building steady during an earthquake.
When a quake happens, guests and visitors on the top floors will experience a bumpy ride. In fact "The calculated peak acceleration at the top of the tower is...on par with a Space Shuttle launch," says the Wired article. As scary as that might sound, people can rest assured that the 1,100-foot-tall building itself is safe and sound.
Read more on Wired.