External braided carbon fiber rods designed for dampening impact of earthquakes

Earthquakes are a serious design consideration when it comes to the built environment. Particularly in areas along the Pacific Rim, where seismic activity is somewhat regular.

CNN reports on an innovative, and certainly very aesthetically striking design concept in Japan that is intended to help a building not so much “fight” earthquakes, but will rather “live with earthquakes.” That is according to the building’s architect, Kengo Kuma. Here’s more info:

The latest quake proof innovation involves a curtain of braided carbon fiber rods anchoring a building to the ground almost like a tent with thousands of guy ropes. This design is currently being tested on a concrete office block in Nomi in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture.

The rods extend from a frame on the building’s roof and are fastened to the ground at a specific angle. Inside the same rods reinforce the stairwells and windows. The curtain of thermoplastic carbon fiber composite adds a soft, rippling aesthetic to the building. While the rods are flexible, they are also incredibly strong — strong enough to restrain the force of an earthquake.

When the ground begins to tremble causing the building to shift left or right, the rods stretch and pull it in the opposite direction, preventing it from shaking.