Tokyo Skytree

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A report after paying a site visit to the world’s
highest steel structure, “Sky Tree”, modeled
after Hohryuji, an earthquake resistant Japanese
Included, are Sky Tree’s basic features, a brief
structural comparison between Sky Tree and
more than a century old timber pagoda,….
unleashing the structural secret of Japanese
pagodas, having the ability to resist earthquake
and Sky Tree’s chronological account of

Hohryuji an Introduction
In the land of the rising sun where typhoons swept
frequently and the land is shaken by earthquake, stands
the tower of Hohryuji, a typical traditional Japanese
five-story timber pagoda, that existed for more than
1300 years and still remained standing today. There still
exist over 300 timber pagodas in Japan today and are
considered one of the typical Japanese beauty. The long
existence of these pagodas in strong seismic regions is
still a big question. This special earthquake resistance
ability of the five-story timber pagodas in Japan remain
a mystery up to now. This paper unleash this secret.

Basic Features
Highest steel structured tower in the world:
V Mainly used as a digital broadcasting facility
by 6 commercial stations including NHK. It
has two observatories at heights 350 and 450m.
V Located in Oshiage, Sumida Ward, Tokyo
V Designed by KK Nikken Sekkei
V Constructed by KK Obayashi
V Modeled after the earthquake resistant
Japanese Pagoda

Structural Comparison


Central RC pillar wrapped
by steel structure shaft
Welded truss pipe
structural frames
“Katana” configuration

Seismic isolation by
friction bearing to columns
Central timber pillar that
serves as a snubber
Columns and beams are
not firmly connected
Tapered configuration


Commentary 1

Basically, the Japanese pagoda is a flexible
structure using seismic isolation by friction
bearing. This is a non-linear dynamic analysis
of a sliding structure, where the shear balances
at the sliding interface. Friction bearing reduce
the shear forces at the bearing, so the columns
hardly to be damaged during an earthquake.
Sky Tree, however is a rigid structure. The
main structure uses steel frames with double
the standard strength for the key elements.

Commentary 2

The snubber constrains each floor level of the
pagoda from swinging too far at any direction,
(shimbashira.) Sky Tree copied this idea,
however it uses the latest oil-dumping
technology for restraining seismic and wind
Tokyo Skytree - Trang 2
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