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Italy's Tallest Tower Uses GT STRUDL for Critical Structural Analysis and Simulations

Located in the heart of Milan, the Palazzo Lombardia Tower is currently the tallest structure in Italy, standing 161.30m high (nearly 530 feet).  This newly constructed complex is one of the strongest features of Milan's skyline and GT STRUDL played a significant role in its development.

The paper entitled "The modal properties of the ‘Palazzo Lombardia’ Building, the new Seat for the Regione Lombardia in Milan: a comparison between numerical analysis and experimental results" discusses the analyses and simulations.  The paper's authors include:  Prof. Alfredo Cigada, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Ing. Elena Mola, ECSD S.r.l., Italy; Prof. Franco Mola, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Ing. Gianfranco Stella, CAD DataConsult S.r.l., Italy; and Marcello Vanali, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.  The authors name GT STRUDL as the structural analysis software of choice, selecting it to run all of the analyses and simulations for the massive project. 

The Palazzo Lombardia Tower is the part of the new administrative complex for the Lombardy region’s government offices.  One of the prerequisites for the final design validation and the ‘as built’ Tower was a series of dynamic excitation tests, required by the region's public administration.  A series of dynamic excitation tests was carried out on the Tower, from which its basic modal features could be measured and compared to the same features predicted by the finite element numerical analysis used in the design.

The Palazzo Lombardia complex includes five lower buildings (about 40m high) that surround the high-rise Tower. The complex’s sinuous interweaving strands mimic the mountains, valleys, and rivers of the Lombardia region. The curvilinear forms used in the architectural design are clearly visible in the facades of all of the buildings.  These forms are adaptable to changing functional requirements.

The curvilinear shapes of the buildings not only have a strong aesthetical impact, but they are also reflected in the irregular plan-wise configuration of the complex. At the center of the buildings is a covered public plaza that has an area of approximately 4200m2.  The plaza is covered by a steel truss system that supports transparent Texlon ETFE (ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene) cushions. Fig.1 shows all six buildings of the complex in a rendered architectural project.  The structural system is made entirely of reinforced concrete load bearing elements, except for the Auditorium area in Core 4 and the ‘Velarium’ on top of Core 1, which is a three-story belvedere area for official business and private events. Structural steel was employed for these remaining sections.

Rendering of the Palazzo Lombardia complex in Milan, Itlay's tallest building.

Fig. 1 Palazzo Lombardia: the architectural project

The global numerical analysis model implemented in GT STRUDL proved to be well tuned, as for the basic parameters and assumptions and able to derive the modal properties of the structure with a very good accuracy. The experimental tests were also an additional method to enforce a final quality control on the materials and the construction method: they highlighted a good correspondence between the ‘as-designed’ structure and the ‘as-built’ one. The numerical analysis model, thus experimentally validated, can now be used as the basis for the planned continuous monitoring activity on the Tower.

GT STRUDL is a world class computer-aided structural engineering software system designed to assist with the structural analysis and design process.  It completely integrates graphical modeling, frame and finite static, dynamic, and nonlinear analysis, finite element analysis, structural frame design, graphical result display, and structural database management into a powerful, menu-driven information processing system that supplies engineers with accurate and complete technical data for design decision-making. 

GT STRUDL's renown reputation is based on its high reliability of results combined with its reduced computation times on standard PCs. It is one of the most widely used structural design and analysis software programs for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC), Computer-Aided Engineering and Computer-Aided Design (CAE/CAD), utilities,  as well as offshore, industrial, nuclear, and civil works.  GT STRUDL is used by thousands of engineers in more than thirty countries and is validated and certified in full conformance to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's software quality assurance and quality control regulations.  For additional information about GT STRUDL, visit:  http://www.gtstrudl.gatech.edu/.