The performance of steel-frame buildings with infill masonry walls in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake

April 29, 2006
Publication: Earthquake Spectra v 22 n SPEC. ISS. 2 p S43-S67
Author(s): Ronald Hamburger John Meyer

Abstract: Following the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, engineers recognized the superior performance of buildings with complete vertical load-carrying steel frames and infill masonry walls. These buildings were noteworthy in their ability to survive both the ground shaking and fire, many remaining in service today. Observation of this superior performance led many California structural engineers to believe that steel frames were the best structural system for resisting earthquake damage, in turn, leading to a proliferation of steel-frame construction in California cities. Not until the 1994 Northridge earthquake did many California engineers recognize that steel-frame structures can and do experience severe earthquake damage. The performance capability of early steel-frame buildings with infill masonry walls, however, remains unclear, despite improved understanding of their structural response characteristics.