Wall buildings are very efficient structurally, because the same element can act as part of the building envelope, as a vertically spanning structural element perpendicular to the direction of applied lateral load, and as a shear wall parallel to the direction of applied lateral load. If the wall buildingÂ is made of a material that is aesthetically pleasing, like masonry, even more efficiency is achieved. Wall buildings are also very efficient from the viewpoint of design. The ultimate objective is design, not analysis.
The basic steps that are discussed here, in the context of simple, onestory shear wall buildings, can be applied to multistory shear wall buildings as well. At the roof level and at each floor level, horizontal diaphragms receive reactions from vertically spanning strips, and transfer those reactions to shear walls. Each shear wall acts essentially as a free-standing, statically determinate cantilever, with axial loads and in-plane lateral loads applied at each floor level. At each floor level, the shear wall must simply be designed for shear, and for combined axial force and moment.
Design of shear wall buildings is typically much easier than the design of frames, which are statically indeterminate and must usually be analyzed using computer programs.