Sabiha Gökçen international airport's new terminal building is the largest structure ever built which rests on a special earthquake-proof foundation system. The building was designed to remain functional after a future 8.0 magnitude earthquake that can occur on the huge North Anatolian Fault. This major active fault is only 20 km from the site! Furthermore, the building has to withstand a 7.5 magnitude event with no damage to its structural system.
These are almost unheard of criteria, which far exceed those in other earthquake-prone areas in the world, such as California. The special foundations were designed and built by an army of engineers, from Turkey and California; it is known as the Base Isolation System.
Sabiha Gökçen international airport is the "second" airport of Istanbul, Turkey. It is on the Anatolian (Asian) half of Istanbul, a mega-city of 11 million people.
In just 18-months, Arups global engineering team, in collaboration with Dogan Tekeli Sami Sisa Mimarlik Ofisi (Architect) and LIMAK-GMR JV (Contractor), helped transform vacant land into the most technologically superior structure of its size in the world, featuring seismic safety measures that surpass US building standards. Atila Zekioglu and Serdar Karahasanoglu of Arup led the global structural engineering team that worked around the clock to complete the project in record time.
The photos below show one "base isolator" and the whole group of them.
Read more about this massive project here (6 MB pdf file) courtesy of Jason Matsui of Sacramento, California.