The walls of the Tochigi R&D Center collapsed in the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the past, the tops and bottoms of walls were fixed using fittings (runners), but with the greater-than-expected shaking the wall plates detached from their fittings and collapsed. In this modification to boost earthquake-resistance, the structural components of the building are surrounded with a steel skeleton and wall plates are firmly attached at both ends using deep runners and long screws (anchors), the entire wall kept in place by the steel skeleton construction.
Ceilings were also reinforced for increased earthquake resistance. Ceilings were hung from steel components at appropriate intervals, with the components and ceiling fixed in place using earthquake-resistance clips, and braces were added to increase seismic resistance. Air conditioning and other ducts were placed above the steel components to prevent them from placing a direct burden on the ceiling in the unlikely event of them falling.
The previous design building was essentially one huge room, 450 meters long, built through a series of additions over 30 years. With the unexpected strength of the earthquake, the ceiling fell, walls collapsed, and even the fire shutters fell, making it difficult for associates inside to evacuate. The new design building was divided into five sections, and multiple evacuation routes secured. The heavy fire shutters were done away with, and the ceiling and roof between sections also removed to create open space. Besides creating spaces for daily relaxation, these changes will also make evacuation smooth in case of another disaster. Efforts were also made to let in natural light, reducing lighting costs and preventing inner parts of the facility from being cast in darkness when electricity fails.
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