The UC San Diego Seismic Design Team provides undergraduate students the opportunity to explore earthquake engineering through the design, build, and analysis of a 5-foot tall balsa wood model of a high-rise building. The project brings together engineering, architecture, finance and other aspects reflected in real-world projects that encourage creative thinking and facilitate learning.

Every year, the team attends the Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition (SDC) hosted by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). The objective of the competition is to design and construct a light-weight tower that sustains minimal damage under earthquake loads, maximize rentable floor area, and fulfill the additional guidelines provided by the EERI Student Leadership Council. These guidelines change annually based on the location of the competition in order to encourage practical and innovative ideas and to enrich the experiences of returning members. For the 2020 SDC, the team took their 5-foot tall balsa wood tower to take 10th place out of 46 teams overall. They also received an analysis bonus and placed 3rd for the least structural damage.

The 2020 SDC was hosted in San Diego and had been given a significantly more challenging floor plan. The team put in extra attention in designing both floor plans and lateral force resisting systems to tackle the challenge of not only the decreased floor area, but also the possibility of torsional failure.

Team members are involved throughout the entire process from design, construction, analysis to competition. Workshops on AutoCAD, SAP2000 and Revit held by team leads help develop communication, morale and teamwork, and introduce new members to software programs used by the team. Construction is the most hands-on where members use cool machineries such as the laser cutter and electric saw and actually piece together the floor plans. The team encourages active participation and provides opportunities for members to understand the essential steps of the project.

Construction meetings for winter quarter 2022 happen on Tuesdays from 6PM-8PM and Saturdays from 12AM to 12PM in SME 145

2021-2022 Seismic Design Leads:

  • Project Managers - Rosalyn Cho and Kris Li
  • Analysis Leads - Jimmy Du
  • Design Leads - Nhi Lang and Hojin Choi
  • Construction Lead - Kelley Ha
  • Finance Lead - Hien Duong
  • Architecture Lead - Matthew Tu
  • Junior Leads- Juan Villa Ordonez, Cynthia Zhan, and Juan Betancort

  • Sponsors:
  • Aark Engineering, Inc.
  • Innovative Structural Engineering, Inc.
  • Snipes-Dye
  • TKJ Structural Engineers, Inc.
  • CSI
  • Degenkolb
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    Kris Li (