After 3.11: New Architecture + Engineering

Seismic Wave Graph


The events of 11 March 2011 are among a series of recent disasters affecting urban environments around the world that created new opportunities and new challenges for the professions of architecture and engineering. New ways of thinking about architecture and engineering are fruitful territory for conversation between colleagues in Japan and California.

Our cities are increasingly dense and built upward; those swaying towers sheltered many safely in 2011, but inhabitants felt insecure and building services were inconveniently interrupted. Having solved the initial challenge of making tall structures safer, we are aware that today's technical solutions must be complemented by a greater attention to the ways our work is accepted and integrated into practice and daily life.

We and other researchers on our campuses and in our communities are concentrating on how to develop greater safety in new kinds of structures, on the promotion of "cool roofs" and "cool communities," the use of portable measuring tools to fine-tune responses to local microclimates and site, and the use of simulation in design to develop more energy-efficient buildings. The discomfort many refugees faced in the days after the 2011 earthquake raised questions regarding how people can be sheltered in place for long periods when no utilities are available—no water, gas, or electricity, designing buildings that collect water on a rainy day, that capture wind in summer or that are warmed by the sun in winter. Resilience will allow economic advantages that have value every day, not only in disaster.

Our expertise as architects and engineers is only as effective as our ability to integrate technological tools with an everyday understanding of our built environments. We have much to share across cultures; our approaches and even our use of space in our two countries differs in ways that lead to very distinct approaches to making and using buildings. We propose to discuss how our professions are changing in light of the new awareness that has emerged out of many recent disasters around the world.



10:00–11:00 am — Marcy Monroe (UC Berkeley), moderator

Mary Comerio (Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley)
How we understand and measure success in disaster recovery establishes policy for future events. Only in the past two decades, have we recognized that a return to pre-event conditions is often unworkable. Disaster recovery is now linked to concepts of resilience and community renewal, with social, economic, institutional, infrastructural, ecological, and community dimensions. Individual and household welfare, business and civic recovery, health, education, housing, employment and environmental conditions all affect recovery. Approaches to the recovery process after recent earthquakes in China, Italy, Haiti, Chile, and New Zealand, can be compared with recent progress in Japan to offer insight into successful policies and the challenges.

Norio Maki (Professor, Kyoto University)
Dr. Maki will discuss in more detail the impact of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster and the recovery process following the disaster. He will also address the challenges for Japan in preparing for future earthquakes and tsunami of a similar scale in Western Japan or Tokyo and the lessons we can learn from the 2011 Tohoku disaster.

Chiho Ochiai (Assistant Professor, Kyoto University / Visiting Scholar, UCB)
Reconstruction or Resettlement? The example offered by one village near Kesennuma which was affected by the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. This village was also affected by the Meiji (1896) and Showa (1933) tsunamis but experienced no deaths as due to 3.11, unlike neighboring villages. The village maintained long-standing practices that had discouraged building on lower ground near the water. Instead, residents built on the hills, in spite of added cost and some hardship. A greater proportion of residents were able to return to their homes after the tsunami, even though they lacked basic infrastructure. These land-use practices were unique in the area; even today, many people in surrounding villages are against resettlement to higher land (far from the seashore).

11:15 am–12:15 pm — Rod Henmi ((HKIT Architects), moderator

Hitoshi Abe (Professor, UCLA)
Dr. Hitoshi Abe will discuss the reconstruction efforts of Japan’s architects through ArchiAid, including a rich variety of decentralized, guerilla-style, small-scale actions across the region demonstrating the viability of alternative, diverse reconstruction strategies. While not heroic, the many reconstruction activities of these architects are flexible, and may broaden over time to include activities that transcend the standard definition of the architect’s profession.

Makoto "Shin" Watanabe (Professor, Hosei University)
Watanabe will discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in grassroots efforts to rebuild. Large-scale residential land development involving scraping mountains seems an inevitable necessity; as noted by earlier speakers, the area is defined by a rough, jagged coastline and level ground is scarce. But while joint relocation of nearby villages was initially considered, it was rejected by residents. Each seashore community is attempting to plan its own residential development on higher ground, a problem made more difficult because the majority of the affected are elderly with less of the resources necessary for rebuilding homes; many are hoping to move into public housing. Local people also have little experience working with architects. Given these conditions, collective relocation plans in the area will pose the following two challenges: landscape design in site preparation involving large-scale engineering works, and how to preserve these fishing communities in the newly planned settings.

Dana Buntrock (Professor, UC Berkeley)
The profession's ability to respond well to disasters is influenced by already-established ties, expertise, and professional values. How can architects be effective in efforts by small communities or clients when facing limited resources and what are the risks and rewards of this work? Are the projects valued by the profession the best solutions for these communities?

1:15 pm–2:15 pm — Moderator TBD

Stephen Mahin (Professor, UC Berkeley)
Modern building codes are intended to produce structures having a low probability of collapse during rare and unusually severe earthquakes. While modern buildings are not likely to collapse, it is increasingly understood that the the severity and types of damage that occurs during large earthquakes differs greatly from building to building, and that even moderately sized earthquakes can cause significant structural and nonstructural damage that can disrupt the use of a building and be costly to repair. Recent advances in performance-based earthquake engineering permit owners, architects, engineers and others to consider the impact that the selection of structural and nonstructural systems and design criteria have on initial construction costs, loss of post-earthquake building occupancy, and costs associated with repair of structural and nonstructural damage and business interruption. Examples are shown to illustrate differences in expected life cycle costs associated with different structural systems designed according to the minimum requirements of modern codes, as well as of the return on investment for systems designed to achieve higher levels of seismic resilience.

Kazuhiko Kasai (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Seismic base isolation systems and supplemental damping systems have been widely used in Japan since the 1995 Kobe earthquake in order to protect human lives as well as building functionality and assets. This talk highlights performance of major buildings with such protective systems during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and discusses future scopes for new construction and retrofit employing the systems. The talk also explains a building with "green mass damper" that performed excellently. This new system utilizes an extremely heavy weight of a rooftop garden that moves and dissipates seismic energy. The weight of the garden is 3,650 ton (8,046 klb), about 10% of the building total weight, and average depth of soil is 800 mm (2.6 ft.) in order to create rich urban planting.

David Mar (Principal, Tipping Mar)
Buildings come in many shapes and sizes, and existing structures can have various seismic vulnerabilities. This talk will quickly introduce three innovative strategies for seismic resistance. Self-centering cores and walls use vertical post-tensioning to provide a controlled rocking response and resilience for new construction. Mode-shaping spines are added to existing frame buildings with weak stories. The new spine precludes the story mechanism and forces a more stable global tilting mechanism. Base absorption is the retrofit strategy to create a ductile story mechanism for weak-story buildings. It is the strategy employed by FEMA P‑807: Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Multi-Unit Wood-Framed Buildings with Weak First Stories.

2:30 pm–3:30 pm — Stefano Schiavon (Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley), moderator

Susan Ubbelohde (Professor, UC Berkeley)
The 1973 oil embargo and the following energy crisis was perhaps the most powerful "disaster" in the US and Europe to affect energy use in contemporary architecture. In response, we had experimental buildings, university research and governmental agencies looking for ways to guide the building industry into the future with the tools, benchmarks and codes. Some efforts were more productive than others — the crazy solar houses of the 1907's taught us much about how buildings actually work, while California's Title 24 and the US Department of Energy DOE2 simulation program were each highly effective in changing the design of buildings in the years since. We now face the crisis of climate change and have turned to similar solutions — including experimental buildings and technologies, university research and governmental regulation — to transform the industry once again. Our response to this current "crisis" recognizes a broader responsibility for resource use, environmental degradation and human health as part of the building industry but is also still concentrating on the necessity of reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy generation to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in our sector.

Hiroaki Takai (Executive Manager, Takenaka Corporation)
3.11 before and after, as seen from the viewpoint of an environmental designer and researcher. My key points:

  • The changing awareness of environmental issues by users and clients, and how this is leading to changing design specifications (power saving, energy saving, renewables and mixed energy resources, business continuity planning, workplace productivity, etc.)
  • Changes in actual energy consumption and indoor environments. Practices concerning energy use.
  • Environmental assessment tools for Japan's property market
  • How these points are seen in Takenaka's environmental concept

Masayuki Mae (Associate Professor, University of Tokyo)
After 3.11, many believed that ideas about energy supply and the design of architecture would change. Unfortunately, to date there has been limited change, especially in education. Most professionals and students seem to be committed to the survival of established practices. The outlook for more sustainable residential design is very poor, in truth. In this presentation, the current energy situation in Japan will be introduced. Examples of a few experimental "green" houses will be shown, including some produced with "Archi+Aid" in Tohoku and "Eco Town," sponsored by YKK. I will also include the "Energy Management Houses" exhibited in early 2014, involving five universities. We won!

4:00 pm–5:00 pm — Keynote

George Kurumado (Architect, Managing Officer, Takenaka Corporation)
What happened in construction after 3.11? Here were some competing responses: an increased awareness regarding energy performance; strong demands to be "economical; greater awareness of the limits of technology. Disaster simulations throughout Japan searched for other unseen dangers and resulted in frustrations and new discussion regarding resiliency.

How did 3.11 change our clients' thinking? We've seen a slow but concrete change toward sustainability and building safety. But market conditions also impact our clients' choices.

Are we headed in the right direction? The disasters of 3.11 were always possible. The reason for our poor preparation was that people did not accept idea of a catastrophe. Change may need to happen not only in our built environment, but in our minds and the minds of our clients.


Hitoshi ABE (阿部仁史)
(Professor, UCLA)
Hitoshi Abe is Chair of the Department of Architecture at UCLA; Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Chair in the Study of Contemporary Japan and Director of the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. He was formerly on the faculty of Tohoku University, in charge of the Architecture and Urban Design Laboratory and Director of the Architectural Design Education Committee. He has maintained an active international design practice based in Sendai, Japan, and Los Angeles; his work has been published internationally and received numerous awards. Dr. Abe has worked with Brad Pitt's "Make It Right Foundation" in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and is a founding member of Archi+Aid, an organization that assists architects contributing to the reconstruction of Tohoku.

(Professor, UC Berkeley)
Buntrock's early research on architectural and structural innovation in Japan was heavily influenced by the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 1995 Kobe (Hanshin) earthquakes. Supported by an NSF / JSPS post-doc fellowship in 1998, she spent significant time observing the construction of Sendai Mediatheque by Toyo Ito, which also enabled her to travel extensively through the Tohoku area. Since 2011, Buntrock is also gathering material on the potential for collaborative response by architects and energy scientists. Her books include Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process (2001) and Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Japanese Architecture (2010). In 2014, Buntrock will return to Japan with support from the Social Science Research Council.

(Professor of the Graduate School, University of California, Berkeley)
Mary Comerio is an internationally recognized expert on disaster recovery. In 2011, she received the Green Star Award from the United Nations for her work in post-disaster reconstruction in China and Haiti. Her research focuses on the costs and benefits of seismic rehabilitation (particularly housing), post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and loss modeling. She is author of Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery.

Comerio led the FEMA-sponsored Disaster Resistant University Program; the UC Berkeley campus seismic rehabilitation program was recognized by Engineering News Record as one of the ten best seismic planning projects in the United States. Comerio also led Building Systems Research in the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center. She is currently completing work on a NSF Grand Challenge project focused on the mitigation of collapse risk in nonductile concrete buildings. Comerio has recently led PEER/EERI reconnaissance teams following each of the major earthquakes in New Zealand and conducted a review of the housing recovery in Chile for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the United Nations Development Program.

Kazuhiko KASAI (笠井和彦)
(Professor, Structural Engineering Research Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Professor and Director of Structural Engineering Research Center (SERC), Tokyo Institute of Technology. Kazuhiko (Kaz) received his Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley in 1985. Kaz has been the chairman of various committees on design specifications for response control and steel structures in Japan. His design theories and analytical methods have been included in several Japanese design specifications addressing response control of steel, concrete, and timber structures. Kaz was the Japan-side leader of the NEES and E-Defense US-Japan steel building research projects on conventional steel structure and protective systems. He was also the Japan-side leader of the China-Japan joint research on seismic mitigation for super-tall buildings, sponsored by the NSFC (China) and JST (Japan).

George KURUMADO (車戸ジョージ)
(Architect, Managing Officer, Takenaka Corporation)
George Kurumado has been with Takenaka Corporation since 1981; he rose to manager of the building design department in 1999 and is now a managing officer responsible for the work of over 1200 architects end engineers. Takenaka has yearly sales of $9 billion, 20 overseas offices, and one of the largest construction R&D laboratories in the world; it offers comprehensive services worldwide from site location and planning through design and construction and building maintenance. His own designs have won numerous major awards. Kurumado received a Bachelor of Engineering in 1979 from Waseda University and a Master in Engineering in 1981; he also received a Master in Architecture from UC Berkeley in 1988 and a Master in Science in Urban Design from Columbia University in 1989. In 2011, Kurumado was also invited to speak on the 3.11 disaster and its impact to the New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Masayuki MAE (前真之)
(Associate Professor, University of Tokyo)
Masayuki Mae is an Associate Professor at The University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture. His specialty is energy conservation and natural energy utilization in buildings, particularly houses. Educating students and colleagues about green building design has lead to collaborative opportunities with architects who hope to realize the design of high-performance buildings. Mae is also active the development of calculation methods to meet Japan's new energy conservation regulations and is in charge of proposed schemes for evaluating equipment such as hot water boilers and co-generators.

(Professor, Head — Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, UC Berkeley)
Byron L. and Elvira E. Nishkian Professor of Structural Engineering and Director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, Steve received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley, and has been on the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for three decades. His expertise ranges from engineering characterization of ground motion to seismic performance of buildings and transportation systems. Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Steve was leader of the SAC Steel Project funded by FEMA, a multi-year and multi-disciplinary national seismic project that successfully developed new seismic design provisions for steel moment frames that form the basis of today’s codes. Steve is an internationally renowned expert in earthquake engineering.

Norio MAKI (牧紀男)
(Professor, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University)
Professor Maki's current research interests are planning for disaster reduction; crisis emergency management systems; the long-term implications of recovery after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, 2004 Niigata Earthquake, and 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Maki has participated in field surveys on disaster response and recovery in Asian countries incluing the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Maki received a B.E. in architecture in 1991, an M.E. in architecture in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Enginering in 1997, all from the Kyoto University.

David MAR
(Principal, Tipping Mar)

David Mar leads Tipping Mar's practice of well-crafted engineering solutions emphasizing creativity and exploration supported by practical, project-specific research. His work demonstrates his desire to provide a complete design product that is thoughtfully integrated with the project's environment, accommodating long-term sustainability, seismic conditions, cost, and interdisciplinary design parameters. David is a longtime advocate for early collaboration with owners, architects, and contractors.

David led the efforts to create FEMA P‑807, guidelines to retrofit weak-story wood framed structures. In addition he has published numerous articles and papers and received many national awards in the areas of new construction, seismic renovation, and sustainable design. David has practiced structural engineering for more than twenty-five years, having received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

Chiho OCHIAI (落合知帆)
(Assistant Professor, Kyoto University / Visiting Scholar, UCB)
Assistant Professor Chiho Ochiai is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, studying neighborhood reconstruction after the 1991 Oakland fire and the impact now, more that 20 years later. Past research has looked at community-based housing reconstruction in Aceh after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami; tradition-based disaster preparedness by villages in Japan, the U.S. and Switzerland; and community disaster response as it relates to daily life. Ochiai majored sociology at UC Davis, and received both her Masters and PhD in Global Environmental Studies from Kyoto University, where she is now on the faculty.

Hiroaki TAKAI (高井啓明)
(Executive Manager, Takenaka Corporation)
Hiroaki Takai has been with Takenaka Corporation since 1982, when he graduated with a Master of Engineering from Waseda University. Since 2001 he has been in a position of leadership in the mechanical and electrical engineering design department. Takai is an SHASE (the Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Sanitary Engineers of Japan) Fellow, and has served as a director with SHASE and the Institute for Building Environment and Energy Conservation (IBEC); he has also been a lecturer at the Tokyo University of the Arts and elsewhere. Takai is the author of numerous technical papers on thermal comfort, workplace productivity, life cycle assessment, and the value of CASBEE, the LEED-like rating system recently deployed in Japan. His major works include Tokyo Dome, Fukuoka Dome, Odate Jukai Dome, Tokyo Sankei Building, Sapporo Dome, Takenaka Tokyo Main Office, Kaohsiung Stadium, Taichung Metropolitan Opera House, Nissan Motors Global Headquarters, and the Iino building.

(Professor, UC Berkeley)
Susan Ubbelohde is a Professor at UC, Berkeley and a founding partner of Loisos + Ubbelohde, an architecture and consulting firm specializing in sustainable design and high performance buildings. The firm has pioneered new methods of energy conservation, production and analysis; lighting and daylighting design and analysis; natural ventilation analysis; concept design and fabrication of light emitting and controlling elements including light sculptures. Susan has directed research for the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the University of California Energy Institute, and the California Institute for Energy.

Makoto WATANABE (渡辺真理)
(Professor, Hōsei University)
Watanabe worked for Cambridge Seven Associates in 1979–80 and Arata Isozaki and Associates from 1981; he became a partner at Arata isozaki and Associates in 1987 and remained with the firm through 1996. In 1987, he also established ADH Architects with Yoko Kinoshita. Watanabe received his Bachelor of Engineering from Kyoto University in 1973 and a Master of Engineering from the same institution in 1977; he received a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University in 1979. He has been a professor at Hosei University since 1996. Watanabe translated Collage City by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter into Japanese in 1992 and has authored two other books with Yoko Kinoshita: the 1992 Ko no Shujutai [Housing for Singles] and 2006 Shugo Jutaku wo Unit kara Kangaeru [Japanese Housing since 1950]. With Taketo Shimohigoshi, he also edited the 2012 Chiisana Comyuniti: Sumu, Atsumaru, Tunagaru koto [Small Communities: Living, Gathering, Creating Ties]. Watanabe also a founding member of Archi+Aid.


The conference After 3.11: New Architecture + Engineering will be held in 112 Wurster Hall. Find Wurster Hall in this campus map.

Wurster Hall