Organized by: The Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP)

Competition Website:



TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition in Six Steps


  1. Create your team of four or five persons (Each team should have a supervisor)
  2. Design a multi-story building by targeting maximum floor area and minimum earthquake loss
  3. Register for the competition with your project until February 7, 2023
  4. If you are one of the teams qualified for the finals, prepare your physical model
  5. Send us your model before May 9, 2023
  6. Get your model tested on the shake table in the finals on May 11, 2023

Brief Description of the TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition

Designing and constructing earthquake resistant structures is one of the key aspects in mitigating earthquake induced losses as destructive earthquakes may cause substantial damage to the built environment and inflate socio-economic losses. In this respect, the TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition aims to contribute to the knowledge and practical skills of future civil engineers, to support and promote earthquake engineering discipline and to increase public awareness about earthquakes.

  1. Introduction

The TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition is organized between the teams of civil engineering students and it has three stages. In the first stage, the teams register for the competition in accordance with the rules explained in the Project Preliminary Specifications booklet. In the second stage, the teams qualified after the first-round design their buildings and prepare the models with balsa wood following the rules given in the Technical Specifications that are provided to the teams at this stage. In the final stage, the models are tested on the shake table under three different earthquake ground motions. The winning team is determined considering the earthquake performance of the models dictated by the rules of the competition.

Teams consisting of minimum four and maximum five undergraduate students can register for the TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition. The majority of the students in a team (at least three of them) should be civil engineering students. A maximum of two architecture students from the department of architecture of the same university can be included in the team. If, on the other hand, the university participating in the competition does not have a department of architecture, then the team may, optionally, invite architecture students from other universities. Multiple teams from the same university are allowed to register for the competition. All applications will be evaluated by the Technical Committee and the Jury members and only one team from each university will be selected to compete in the finals. Each team will be represented in the competition by the name of their university.

The teams must be supervised by at least one instructor from the same civil engineering department. If the team is supervised by multiple instructors, only one of them, appointed by the team, will be eligible for transportation and accommodation expenses during the event. Applications without a supervising professor will be disqualified for finals.

The scaled building models constructed from balsa wood should be designed complying with the technical specifications provided to the qualifying teams. Their earthquake performance will be assessed by a series of shake table tests.

The most important success criterion for a model building is that it should not collapse during the shake table tests. The technical, economical and aesthetical points are the other criteria that are used in determining the success of the competing teams. The technical evaluation (scoring) is based on the earthquake performance of the building (that is the peak acceleration and displacement measured on the structure and the observed structural damage). The economical scoring considers the weight of the model (amount of materials used in the construction) and the total floor area; and the aesthetic scoring evaluates the architectural properties of the building as well as the presentation of the project (the poster and its presentation).

The winning team is the one that obtains the highest total annual income determined from a cost-benefit analysis that relies on the scores described in the above paragraph associated with different weights.

The TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design Competition, which comprises of calculation, design, planning, building, presentation, and physical testing is a competition for young civil engineer candidates who have a team soul to collaborate with different disciplines to improve their abilities in presenting a project. To this end, scores on design calculations, model construction, shake table tests as well as presentation skills and techniques are important determinants. The competition, which emphasizes design of a tall building should be evaluated not only in terms of earthquake-resistant design and construction, but also in terms of its functionality and financial profitability. It is a highly educational and instructive event.

  • Objectives of the TCIP Earthquake Resistant Structure Design Competition


  • To provide collaboration opportunity for civil engineering and architecture students for earthquake resistant tall building design and model construction
  • To promote earthquake engineering and encourage civil engineering and architecture students to specialize in this field
  • To increase awareness on earthquakes and promote earthquake-resistant building design for seismic prone countries
  • To increase the technical skills of civil engineering students on performing structural analysis against dynamic earthquake loads


  • Definition of the Problem

The scope of the competition is the design and construction of a hotel building located in Konyaaltı district in Antalya. The story number can be between 20 and 30 stories and the ground floor is planned to have a commercial use having a height twice the height of a regular floor.  The design is expected to have a high benefit/cost ratio associated with an optimum seismic performance.

The model building will be constructed by the balsa wood and its seismic performance will be determined from the shake table tests. The shake table tests are carried out at three different levels of ground motion. The main objective here is that the structure is designed in such a way that the life safety performance level against earthquake loading is ensured and the building does not collapse under the strongest ground motion.

The models that are qualified for the final will be subject to a new ground motion on a shake table. The teams whose models run for the final will perform structural analysis of their models under the new ground motion and will provide their analytical results before the Jury during their presentations. The organization will provide a descent computational environment and sufficient time for the teams to perform their structural analyses. Teams will bring the software they used in the analyses as well as the analytical building model on their laptops.

The peak roof displacement and acceleration of the buildings will be determined during the shake tests.  These values will be used in the calculation of monetary losses resulting from structural and non-structural damages.

Financial losses incurring in case when the model collapses will be calculated by considering the demolishing and reconstruction costs and the down-time period while the model is being reconstructed. At the last stage, the total annual cost of the models will be calculated for each one of the three earthquake levels by multiplying total economic loss with the annual recurrence rate of each earthquake.

A cost-benefit analysis will be carried out to determine economically the most efficient model among the entire buildings qualified for the finals. Within this scope, building income will be compared to the sum of building and earthquake costs.

🖉 Building Income will be calculated based on the floor spaces for renting. Floor spaces of the first seven floors (including the ground floor and 1-6th floors) as well as the 25th and above floors will bring higher income per sqm.

🖉 Building Cost will be calculated based on the model weight. The cost increase penalty will be issued to the models that exceed the weight or size limits. In case the net weight of the physical model (excluding the wood base and roof plates and metal roof panel) exceeds 1.0 kg, but stays below 1.4 kg, a cost increase penalty will be applied. Building models having net weights exceeding 1.4 kg will lose their right to compete.

🖉 Earthquake Cost will be calculated based on the performance of the structure under earthquake shaking. The accuracy of peak roof acceleration and displacement computed from the structural analysis of the model for each ground motion level will serve as a beneficial point to reduce the earthquake cost. The teams will present their analytical results for peak roof acceleration and displacement during the competition and the proximity of their results for the first ground motion level with that measured from shake table tests will be graded by jury to reduce the earthquake costs.

🖉 Winning Criteria: The ranking of the competing models will be based on the benefit/cost ratio of each model. Additional prizes will be given to those teams that have the most successful architecture, best presentation and best poster.

It is envisaged that the model building will have an atrium (gallery space) with the dimensions of 200 mm × 200 mm located in the center of the first seven floors (ground floor and six normal floors). The relevant design details will be given in the Technical Specifications, which will be announced in due time. The atrium will not extend through the “wooden” base plate and no cutting will be done in the base plate (discontinuity is not permitted in the base plate). Important issues that should be considered by the teams s during the pre-sizing of their models, are as follows:

Maximum floor plan dimensions: 400 mm × 400 mm

(Dimensions of the floor from exterior sides of the members surrounding the floor)

Buildable area: There will be a 200 mm × 200 mm atrium in the center of the ground floor and the next six normal floors over the ground floor. The 7th floor and above will be regular floors without large openings. See: Figures 1 and 2).

Minimum floor plan dimensions: 150 mm × 150 mm

(The minimum floor dimensions are valid for the seventh floor and above. The given value is the floor overall plan dimensions from exterior sides of the members surrounding the floor)

Floor height: 60 mm

(Floor to floor height. See: Figure 2)

Ground floor height: 120 mm 

(See: Figure 2)


Maximum number of floors: 30 (including ground floor)


Minimum number of floors: 20 (including ground floor)

Figure 1. Schematic Floor Plans of the Physical Model (dimensions are in mm)


Figure 2. Schematic Profile of the Physical Model


  • Application Ground Rules for the Competition and Registration


Teams that consider participating in the competition shall register from the hyperlink below before February 7, 2023

The e-mail of the competition -


Registered teams shall pay attention to the following conditions:


  • Only undergraduate students can participate in the TCIP Earthquake Resistant Building Design competition.
  • Teams shall submit the student certificates and contact details (phone number and e-mail) of their members by their elected team captains.
  • The application for the competition shall be prepared according to the project proposal template (an example will be provided), and responses to the questions in the template shall be submitted together with the project proposal.
  • During the review of applications, the Jury and Technical Consulting Council will call the team captain on phone (video call if possible) and will ask questions about the project. Therefore, the team captain is expected to be prepared to make a phone call after submitting the application.
  • Each team shall be comprised of minimum four and maximum five students.
  • The majority a team (at least three students) shall be civil engineering students. A team can have a maximum of two architecture students. The teams will compete as the representatives of their university.
  • If the competing university does not have an architecture department, architecture students from other universities can be included in the team.
  • Only one academic consultant from the participating civil engineering department can supervise the team. Applications that fail to nominate an academic consultant will be disqualified
  • Multiple teams can apply to the competition from the same university. In such a case, only one of the teams will be selected for the competition.
  • Questions related to registration can be sent to the following e-mail:



  • Important Dates*




Project application deadline

February 7, 2023

Announcement of selected teams and delivery of the materials for physical models

February 10, 2023

Delivery of the building model information file**

May 5, 2023

Delivery of the physical models to the competition venue***

May 9, 2023

Competition date

May 10-12, 2023


*Date information change rights reserved. Should there be any changes, the participants shall be informed by e-mail. Participants are advised to regularly check their e-mails.

**The file will include the estimations for performances and floor spaces.

*** Physical models will be delivered to the competition venue that is to be announced between the dates May 8 - May 9. The deadline is May 9, 2023, 17:00. 


  • Measurement Units

SI (i.e. mm, kg, N) measurement units shall be used throughout the competition.



  • Construction Material Supply and Model Building

TCIP will send the construction materials to the teams that have been selected to participate in the competition. Detailed information about the construction materials will be given in the Technical Specifications. Teams are not allowed to use construction materials other than those provided by the TCIP. Furthermore, they are not allowed to cut them to reduce their thickness or put them together to increase their thickness. All beams, columns and diagonal elements will be 6 mm × 6 mm square sections and all walls will have 3 mm thickness. The following materials shall be provided by TCIP to each team:

  • Balsa sticks (250 pieces, 1000 mm length, 6 mm × 6 mm square section stick)
  • Balsa plates (35 pieces of plate, 1000 mm length, 100 mm width and 3 mm thick)
  • Wood roof plate (150 mm × 150 mm × 8mm; approximately 150 grams)
  • Wood base plate (500 mm × 500 mm × 12 mm; approximately 2350 grams)
  • Metal roof plate (150 mm × 150 mm × 10 mm; approximately 1750 grams)
  • Glue
  • Cutting mat
  • Base and plate


  1. Prizes


  • Competition Winner and Ranking

The model that does not collapse under any one of the three ground motions with the highest Final Annual Income (FAI) will be announced as the winner of the competition. (Note that some model buildings can be evaluated as collapsed by jury members due to experiencing severe structural degradation, even if they survive after the three ground motions).

The teams whose models are collapsed during shake table tests, will be evaluated on a separate category than the teams whose models did not collapse. They will be ranked based on their FAI score.

A monetary prize worth of TRY75,000 will be awarded to the civil engineering department of the winning team for laboratory equipment procurement.

The following prizes will be given to the top three teams in ranking:

First team: TRY50,000 and Apple MacBook Pro for each team member as Turkish Reassurance Special Prize

Second team: TRY37,500 and Apple iPad for each team member

Third team: TRY25.000 and Apple Air Pods for each team member

Each team supervisor of the top three teams will also be awarded with an Apple iPad. 

  • Certificate of Appreciation

Certificates of appreciation will be given to every team member for their participation.

  • Special Awards

Five special awards will be given in the competition:

Best Architecture Special Award

Best Earthquake Performance Special Award

Best Communication Skill Award

Best Presentation Special Award

Best Competition Spirit Award

The teams awarded by special awards will receive technology gift checks.

  1. Competition Calendar

The following activities will be carried out in the competition. The activity calendar may be subject to changes and it will be posted on the website of the competition.

  • Delivery of physical models to the competition venue on the date indicated on the competition calendar
  • Time allocation for repair of physical models that were damaged during the delivery before oral presentations commence
  • Time allocation for structural analysis using to the earthquake ground motion given during the competition prior to Jury scoring
  • Oral presentations on the first day of the competition
  • Inspection of physical models by the Technical Committee to assess their compliance with the Technical Specifications
  • Tests:

Shake table test will be done after the technical and poster presentations of models. Winning teams will be announced after the tests. Before the first test starts, the test direction will be determined by coin throw.

  1. Project Applications

Teams must present a project proposal for the evaluation by the Technical Advisory Committee of the competition. Project proposal template and a completed example set shall be provided to the applicants. Project proposals must be prepared according to the proposal template.

Student certificates of team members and information about the supervising faculty member must be added to the project proposals. Documents on student certificates and supervisor information are not included in the maximum page limit of the project proposal.


Contact details of the team captain and the team members, including their e-mails and phone numbers, shall be provided with the proposal file.


Applications that do not include the above information will be discarded.

The use of seismic isolation devices or damping devices in the project proposals as well as their implementation to physical models are prohibited by all means. Additionally, teams are not allowed to use materials other than those provided by TCIP in the construction phase of their model.


Number of floors included in the project proposal can be revised by a maximum of ±1 floor in the constructed model. The structural system and floor plans should not be changed in the construction phase.

  1. Rule Descriptions

All queries related to competition rules and their responses will be posted on the web site of the competition.

The form in the website shall be used for queries. Make sure to read the competition rules and the guide carefully before sending any questions.

The team supervisors will be notified via e-mail once the description page is updated.

TCIP keeps the right of making changes to the competition rules, dates and regulations if pandemic or any other unexpected force major situations arise

  1. The Jury and Objections

Technical Advisory Committee is the authority when it comes to the interpretation of rules and the technical management of the competition. The Jury and Technical Advisory Committee shall be responsible for scoring and decisions. All decisions made by the Jury and Technical Advisory Committee are deemed final.