Building Magazine


World’s largest earthquake shake table test planned for this summer

This summer in Japan, The Network for Earthquake Engineering and Simulation (NEES) will test a seven-story, 23-unit condominium tower weighing nearly a million pounds in the world’s largest shake table test ever attempted to demonstrate the importance of earthquake-resistant construction around the world.


In June, the tower will be lifted onto the world’s largest shake table at the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Miki City, Japan. The project, known as the NEESWood Capstone Tests, will simulate a series of earthquakes similar to the 1994 Northridge, Calif., earthquake that killed 72 people and did an estimated $20 billion in damage.


The test is intended to help researchers find new design methods for buildings in urban, earthquake-prone areas. “The outcome of the tests could lead to taller wood-frame buildings in active seismic zones,” said John van de Lindt, a Colorado State University civil engineering professor who serves as the principal investigator for the project.


The NEESWood Capstone Tests are the result of a collaboration of five universities, including Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, SUNY-Buffalo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Delaware, and a four-year $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Several companies are involved, including Nashville, Tenn.-based LP Building Products, which supplied the SolidStart I-Joists and SolidStart Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) as the main structural components of the tower floors; Simpson Strong-Tie Company, which makes anchors and tie-downs; and builder Maui Homes, who will construct the condominium tower.


For more information on the NEESWood Capstone Tests, visit For more information on the shake table, visit

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