For physician-scientist Richard P. Lifton, 19 nights of intentional sleep disruption last summer had nothing to do with a medical experiment. Lifton woke up at 3 a.m., in New Haven, Conn., to watch a construction webcam set up 70 miles away at Manhattan’s Rockefeller University—a campus that overlooks the FDR Drive along the East River.
Each night, the camera recorded a daring maneuver—the lifting, swinging and setting of a 50-ft-tall, 45-ft x 90-ft module over the drive during a five-hour window, when the six-lane artery was closed to traffic. The 500- to 788-ton modules stretch 960 ft to camouflage the drive, creating two acres of real estate out of thin air.
Because it can moderate the damaging effects of earthquakes, base-isolation is a technique used primarily in seismically active regions. ENR takes a look at some of the largest applications of base-isolation technologies in the world.