Moderate earthquakes can pose significant threats to the serviceability and structural integrity of the architectural glazing systems that are included in most building envelope systems. Building envelope damage can cause considerable economic losses due to operational disruptions for extended periods following an earthquake. Furthermore, glazing system structural failures are potentially hazardous to both building occupants and pedestrians. In this paper a systematic analytical study of the effect of the SOOE component of the 1940 El Centro earthquake on the response of a one-storey glass and aluminum shop-front wall system is presented. The seismic response of a one-storey commercial building comprised of three reinforced masonry walls, a glass and aluminum shop-front wall system, and a steel bar joist metal deck roof system was determined using the ABAQUS and SAP 90 finite element packages. In this study, the roof was considered incapable of transferring lateral forces to the walls and therefore its stiffness was ignored. Significant differences in the natural frequencies obtained from the two models were observed. These differences can be traced to different elements, different number of elements, different number of concentrated mass and nonstructural mass distribution, and variations in the number of supports used in the two models. For the El Centro ground motions perpendicular to the plane of the shop-front wall, displacements and drifts calculated by the ABAQUS and SAP 90 models differed considerably. This variation was probably due to modelling differences in the front steel frame. For El Centro ground motions parallel to the plane of the shop-front wall, displacements and drifts calculated by the ABAQUS and SAP 90 models were in much better agreement. It should be noted that for testing architectural glass the inplane drifts are more important. Typical values of inplane displacement reached 2.0% of the overall building height of 6.10 m, while the drifts reached 2.8% of the 1.83 m glazing opening. Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Building; Dynamics; Earthquakes; Glass; Glazing; Shop-front; Structures; Wall system

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 1996