Seismic Rehabilitation of MUCTC Building, Palais Des Congres
Montreal, Canada

Project Cost: $250 million.
Savings in Seismic Rehabilitation: More than 50%
compared to conventional

The MUCTC Building is located in the most prestigious International District, close to historic Old Montreal. This ten-storey concrete frame office building was built in 1928. The building is clad with carved stone and is classified of heritage importance. In 2000, it was decided to expand the nearby Palais des Congres (Convention Centre). The new expansion is built around and integrated with the MUCTC Building, ensuring that its heritage character is preserved. As with the majority of buildings of this age, the earthquake resistance of this existing structure was significantly less than that of current building code requirements. The expansion prompted the seismic upgrade of the MUCTC Building.

Conventional methods of seismic rehabilitation, with concrete shearwalls or rigid steel bracing, were not considered suitable for the MUCTC Building as upgrade with these methods would have required expensive and time consuming foundation work. Also, the shearwalls would have interfered with the heritage character of the structure. The use of friction dampers in steel bracing was considered to be an ideal solution. Since bracing with friction damper do not carry any gravity load, these do not need to go down through the basement to the foundation. In contrast to shearwalls, friction-damped bracing need not be vertically continuous. Also the work could start at any floor level, depending on the vacancy. These aspects were particularly appealing to the architectural designers as these offered flexibility in space planning and scheduling.

A total of 88 friction dampers were required to extract sufficient energy to safeguard the structure and its contents from damage.


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