Luca Caracoglia

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Academic Unit

College of Engineering. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


civil, environmental engineering, tall buildings, Monte Carlo (MC) integration methods

Subject Categories

Monte Carlo method, Tall buildings--Aerodynamics


Civil Engineering


The current state of the practice for the design of tall buildings, subjected to wind hazards, is prescriptive based (i.e., ASCE 7-05). However, the concept of using a non-prescriptive methodology, which would allow for design beyond the code criteria, seems preferable in the context of tall buildings from an economic point of view. This type of approach to design is referred to as performance-based engineering (PBE).

This thesis presents a procedure for the calculation of the dynamic response of tall buildings, using Monte Carlo (MC) integration methods, as a first attempt at a performance assessment. The proposed MC numerical procedure was used to compute the power spectral density of the buffeting loads, and to derive statistical information about the dynamic response in the presence of uncertainty in the wind loading (i.e., measurements errors and modeling deficiencies). Three structures were utilized to validate the proposed algorithm: a steel chimney, a concrete chimney, and the CAARC prototype building. The CAARC building had been selected by the Commonwealth Advisory Aeronautical Research Council of Australia as a benchmark high-rise structure for studying dynamic response affected by wind loading. This thesis computed the structural fragility curves of the CAARC building under extreme winds, and preliminary investigations were conducted to assess the applicability of the developed methodology in design utilizing PBE. The assessments concentrate on serviceability limit states (displacements) to ascertain, for example, human comfort and damage to non-structural elements on the façade due to an extreme wind event.

The results of these studies validated the appropriateness of the developed algorithm through comparison to reference values obtained from the literature. Furthermore, structural fragility curves were successfully derived, and a preliminary performance analysis, based on simulated along-wind response serviceability limit states, was conducted for the CAARC building. The wind loading in this analysis was consistent with the New England coastal region.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Rights Holder

Marra Ann Smith

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