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Japanese Architecture and Structural Design

Tokyo Institute of Technology via edX


In this engineering course, modern approaches to seismic design and retrofit will be covered through case studies of some unique campus buildings in Tokyo. This includes the progression of structural design from traditional timber buildings to the first steel high rise structures, metabolism movement and the evolution of modern spatial structures in Japan.

Concepts like ‘Integrated Facade Engineering’ and ‘Grid-skin structures’ are discussed using Tokyo-Tech campus buildings as case studies wherein seismic performance was enhanced sustainably considering the environmental performance and aesthetics. The application of the grid-skin concept to RC buildings is also discussed using shear walls and a two-layer framing system.

Modern response control strategies to achieve immediate occupancy post-earthquake like rocking frame systems and seismic isolation in steel buildings are covered and practical considerations while adopting these systems are explained through the design of campus buildings.

Gridshell systems and their unique seismic response characteristics are explained. The design of the metro station near campus was used to explain the practical and technical difficulties of designing lightweight roofs.

Finally, the importance of collaboration between structural engineers and architects is discussed in an interview between Prof. Takeuchi and Prof. Stalder from ETH Zurich.


WEEK 1 : History of Japanese Structural Design

WEEK 2 : Structural Design in Tokyo Tech Campus

WEEK 3 : Concept of Grid-Skin Structures

WEEK 4 : Spine Frames and Seismic Isolation

WEEK 5: Design of spatial structures

Taught by

Toru Takeuchi

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