This was our first full day in Tainan City and we kicked it off at National Cheng Kung University where we met with a large group of local professors and the GEER (Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance) team, who had just arrived that morning from the states. After a short presentation from GEER and some coordination with the structural professors we were eager to get on our way to visit the list of building sites we had planned for the day. Joining our group were a number of professors from the University along with a local structural engineer that has been very involved in the earthquake recovery efforts.
The most common form of construction here is reinforced concrete utilizing concrete movement frames with masonry or concrete infill and partition walls. All seven of the buildings observed today utilized this type of construction with varying degrees of success.
Our first stop of the day was to the Weikuan Jinlong Complex, a 16 story building that collapsed, killing 114 people. We had heard that demolition efforts were underway on the building, and were surprised to find that the building had already been completely demolished. While there wasn’t much of the building left to see, we did get a briefing from the local engineer in our group who spent 72 hours on site after the collapse helping with the rescue efforts. Next up was Kings Town Bank, a 10 story building that had collapsed of the bottom two stories. This building was also in the process of being demolished. Another collapsed building we observed was a two-story public market building, that had the first floor collapse. This building had an open market on the first floor and residential on the second floor. Many buildings here contain commercial or business use on the first couple floors with residential units above. Since the businesses want nice open storefronts, there is an abundance of soft-story buildings here.
Of the remaining buildings we visited, the damage primarily consisted of shear cracking in the perimeter columns and cracking of the masonry and concrete infill. Two of the buildings we visited were District Buildings for public services, that had similar floor plans and construction, with one experiencing more damage than the other. This are allowing us to do some interesting comparisons of structure and performance. Overall, it was a very long but productive day. We are still a bit jet lagged, but eager to see what Day 3 will bring.