2014 H.A Krentz Research Award
Dr. Tony Yang
Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia

Development of High Performance Modular Steel Structures

This research project is aimed to develop high-performance sustainable modular steel structural systems in Canada and worldwide. Modular construction is a novel construction technique that pre-fabricates the structural components in factories and assembles them on site. This provides significant improvements in construction speed and reduces the need for skilled steel construction workers on site.

The project will be accomplished through advanced analytical simulation and experimental testing to validate the seismic behavior of modular steel structures. Once the usability has been established, detailed cost and construction time benefits of using the modular structures will be compared to the conventionally constructed structures common in Canada. The result of this study will be used to develop practical design guidelines for modular steel structures in Canada and worldwide.


Dr. Tony Yang received his B.Sc. (2001) and M.Sc. (2002) from the University at Buffalo, New York, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. His research focus on improving the structural performance through advanced analytical simulation and experimental testing. He has developed the next-generation performance-based design guidelines (adopted by the Applied Technology Council, the ATC-58 research team) in the United States; developed advanced experimental testing technologies, such as hybrid simulation and nonlinear control of shake table, to evaluate structural response under extreme loading conditions; developed risk-based simulation models for countries in the North and South America and the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) for the counties in the South East Asia. Dr. Yang has been actively involved in using novel technologies, such as base isolation systems and dampers, to improve structural performance. He has working with leading structural engineering firms to peer-reviewed landmark buildings, including the tallest steel plate shear wall structure in the world. Dr. Yang is an active member of the Tall Buildings Initiative Project, funded by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, to develop seismic design guidelines for tall buildings. Dr. Yang co-developed ‘OpenSees Navigator’, a software program widely used by design engineers and researchers to design and analyze complex structural systems. He has also developed ‘PBEE’, a software program to quantify facility loss under extreme events.

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2014 H.A. Krentz Research Award

Dr. Tony Yang (L) was the recipient of the H.A. Krentz Research Award for having the top ranked research topic in the 2014 Grant Competition. Presenting the award is Michael Engestrom, Chair, University Research Committee (R).