Patent for technology that kept Chile’s tallest tower standing during an 8.8 magnitude earthquake

The machinery developed by Universidad Católica de Chile and Chilean company Sirve has been used in the Titanium la Portada.


Researchers at the Universidad Católica de Chile and the Santiago-based company Sirve have received a national patent for their “U-shaped” energy dispensers that guard buildings from the violent shaking that occurs during an earthquake.

The letter-shaped supports anchor a building’s structure and are key to dispersing energy created by an earthquake, which accumulates in the structure in the form of heat and is then released gradually into the environment, the company said. The design reduces the strain on tall buildings between 25% and 45%.

“The technology is based in energy metal dissipaters that reduce … building deformation,” said Carolina Garcia Huidobro, head of communications for Sirve, an international consulting company in structures, computational mechanics, vibration control, software production, design and technology development. “It protects the structure and the people and all the content of the building.”

The technology has only been applied once, but its application is a significant one. At 191 meters, the Titanium La Portada is Chile’s tallest building.

When an 8.8 magnitude quake struck south of Santiago in Concepcion, the 52-floor tower sustained no damage. The building’s base is 50 meters below ground and reinforced with a series of diagonally linked metal bars anchored by 25 energy-dissipating devices.

Located in Santiago’s financial district – El Golf, also nicknamed ‘Sanhattan’  – the tower is also the first in South America to be pre-certified in the LEED rating system by the US Green Building Council.

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) recently announced the acceptance of the application for a copyright.