The Beehive, New Zealand’s Parliament Building, is Not Earthquake-Proof After All

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By Vittorio Hernandez | July 23, 2013 9:40 AM EST

One of the highlights of a tour of New Zealand's Parliament building in Wellington, more popularly called the Beehive, is a short video clip on the building being earthquake-proof.

While the massive engineering work has paid off in terms of protecting the edifice, the 6.5 magnitude earthquake on July 21 revealed that the Beehive sustained some damage.

However, the reports are still sketchy on the extent of the damage sustained by the Beehive and the other parts of the New Zealand Parliament compound.

The first tremor on Friday, July 19, was the biggest earthquake in recent months and registered 5.7 magnitude with Cook Strait as its epicenter with a depth of 8 kilometres. It was followed by a stronger temblor that struck on Sunday and measures 6.5 in magnitude, hitting the coast off Wellington.

The Wellington financing trading desks closed due to the quakes, although the tremor was not enough to shake the Kiwi, which traded at 79.32 U.S. cents at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 22, from 79.02 cents at 8 a.m. and 79.29 cents on Friday in New York.

However, while Wellington reopens for business on Tuesday, the quakes have shaken the faith of investors who have expressed concern about tremors in New Zealand, recalling the series of temblors that destroyed buildings in Christchurch.

New Zealand architects and engineers could perhaps learn a lesson or two from builders of the 6 biggest earthquake-proof buildings in the world. These are:

  • Torre Mayor, Mexico City - 57-storeys high, made up of 21,200 tonnes of steel and concrete
  • Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco, California - A pyramid-shaped structure on top of a 52-foot-deep steel and concrete foundation
  • Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan - A 730-tonne ball of steel that hangs inside the building like a gigantic pendulum to counteract any swaying
  • Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama, Japan - A 972-foot tall building that features a combination of anti-earthquake measures such as the entire structure sitting on rollers.
  • U.S. Bank Tower, Los Angeles, California - Stands at 1,018 feet high and built to withstand an 8.3 magnitude earthquake.

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