The Georgia Tech submission to the annual Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) competition in Seattle triumphed in an unexpected way: it brought in the highest bid at auction.
The Georgia Tech submission - a five-foot tall balsa wood model of a would-be Seattle skyscraper - was designed and built by CEE and architecture students for the EERI match-up, which pits top engineering schools in a contest to see who can construct the most structurally sound model. The buildings are judged by how much real estate value they retain after being subjected to three simulated earthquakes.
"The Georgia Tech team didn't win, but they represented us really well," said CEE School Chair Dr. Reginald DesRoches, who accompanied the GT team to the Seattle competition.
If he sounds like a proud parent, that's not too far off. When contest organizers held a mock "building auction" to raise funds for future competitions, DesRoches was easily dragged into a bidding war for the Georgia Tech skyscraper.
"Usually, the buildings are 'purchased' by alumni or faculty from the host school," said DesRoches. "They normally go for $40-50. Since everyone knew I wouldn't be outbid, my good friends at EERI kept driving the cost up. GT's was one of the most expensive at $140."