Turkey’s 1999 Kocaeli earthquake killed 17,000 people, thousands of them simply because they were in seismically unsound buildings. This year, the design firm Arup built Istanbul’s airport—the emergency gateway in any future quake—to withstand an 8.0-magnitude earthquake (the Kocaeli was a 7.4). The building’s resilience comes from 300 rubber-and-steel springs called seismic isolators, typically 12 to 60 inches long, that allow for horizontal movement in the layer between ground and building. Each isolator’s two curved plates, with a bearing in the middle, allows the structure to shift during an earthquake without cracking. The number of isolators, as well as the amount of testing—14 different earthquake scenarios tested the building in hundredth-of-a-second intervals—is unprecedented. Finished in an astonishing 18 months, the airport is the largest earthquake-ready structure in the world.