two-dimensional (2-D) model of a building supported by a rectangular, flexible foundation embedded in the soil is analyzed for excitation by an incident plane SV-wave. The incidence is below the critical angle. The building is assumed to be anisotropic and linear while the soil and the foundation are assumed to be isotropic and can experience nonlinear deformations. In general the work spent for the development of nonlinear strains in the soil can consume a significant part of the input wave energy and thus less energy is available for the excitation of the building. We show that the energy distribution in the building depends on the nature of the incident wave and differs substantially between the cases of incident P- and SV-waves. However, for both excitation by a plane SV-wave pulse and excitation by a P-wave, we show that the nonlinear response in the soil and the foundation does not significantly change the nature of excitation of the base of the building. It is noted that the building response can be approximated by translation and rocking of the base only for excitation by long, strong motion waves. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.