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Seismic design

Understanding the earth’s processes together with the complex response of structures equips us to design safer and more resilient communities.


Arup works in earthquake-prone areas worldwide. From Japan to San Francisco, responsible infrastructure and building design demands the application of expertise in all aspects of earthquake engineering.

We have accumulated formidable experience and skill in seismic design, and the essential specialist fields behind it – including seismology, geotechnical and structural engineering, risk assessment and management.

Enabling creative architecture

We work with clients and architects to engineer the most ambitious of structures to be both earthquake-tolerant and economically feasible.

Our landmark projects include Japan’s Osaka International Convention Center, Maison Hermes and Osaka Maritime Museum; China’s CCTVBeijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) and Kingkey Tower; and the California Academy of SciencesSeattle Central Library and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in the US.

Safeguarding critical assets

To protect communities and businesses, it is essential to safeguard the utilities and industries they depend on.

We use performance-based design methods and modern seismic protection technologies to provide assured functionality for recovery-critical facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, strategic buildings, airport terminals, transportation structures, energy infrastructure and telecommunications facilities.

We work with major companies such as Procter & Gamble and Toyota to help them minimise the impacts of earthquakes on their staff, facilities and productivity. Our catastrophe risk management experts provide engineering-informed advice to public and private sector clients on mitigation and insurance strategies.

We provide post-earthquake support to clients through our global network of offices, and participate in field survey missions with other professionals and academics through organisations such as EERI and EEFIT.

Promoting resilience

Arup has become a global leader in seismic engineering through the innovative approach we have adopted in our design projects and in promoting the societal benefits of improved resilience. Following the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami we reviewed the post-tsunami reconstruction of houses, schools and medical centres, and authored a leading report by the Disasters Emergency Commission.

Our work on seismic design of tall buildings led to authorship of new recommendations for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and we have taken leading roles in recent initiatives to advance US practice funded by NIST.

To find out more, download our Advanced Technology and Research Seismic Engineering brochure (PDF, 3.3MB).

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Global contact

Headshot of Atila Zekioglu.
  • Atila Zekioglu

    Atila Zekioglu

    Headshot of Atila Zekioglu.

    Global Seismic Design Leader
    Arup Fellow

    Your best solution to date?

    Leading the seismic design for the Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, which became the largest base-isolated building in the world when completed in 2009.

    Why is it significant?

    Using expert management, seamless coordination and the power of integrated teamwork, Arup shattered industry standards to redefine what is possible. Designed and constructed in just 18 months, Arup’s global engineering team helped transform vacant land into the most technologically superior structure of its size in the world.

    Your particular skill?

    Leading multidisciplinary teams to provide integrated building engineering ideas, cost-effective structural concepts, and pioneering innovative seismic solutions for our clients.

    Enthusiasm?

    Proving the impossible can be possible.

    Why Arup?

    Our company culture provides the environment for multidisciplinary thinking, encouraging creativity and the exploration of multiple solutions for our clients.

    Anything else?

    Throughout my 30-year career I have focused on solving complex technical challenges. This is demonstrated through my body of work, which includes the Seattle Public Library, Denver Art Museum addition, San Francisco Federal Building and the Caltech Broad Center for Biological Sciences, among many others. Passionate about performance-based design, I am a highly regarded global seismic expert who has led the seismic design of several base-isolated projects, including the Taipei Performing Arts Center and the 1.7 million square foot Airport Terminal at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. I am currently working on the Loma Linda University Medical Center, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center – the permanent home for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

  • Global Seismic Design Leader

Explore our work


China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters.

Project: China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters

CCTV boasts a highly unusual 'three-dimensional cranked loop' shape.

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This landmark development comprises two 60-storey, 217m tall towers.

Project: The Saint Francis Shangri-la Place, Manila

St Francis Shangri-la Place is the tallest residential high-rise building in the Philippines.

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China World Trade Centre mega tower. Credit Frank P Palmer.

Project: China World Tower

Beijing's tallest building and among the tallest in any seismic zone

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The San Francisco Federal Building

Project: San Francisco Federal building

The design concept strove for reduced energy consumption, maximum use of natural daylight and ventilation.

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Post-tsunami housing in Aceh.

Project: Aceh post-tsunami reconstruction

Arup specialists working with humanitarian organisations.

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