This article demonstrates how system identification techniques can be successfully applied to a soil-structure interaction system in conjunction with the results of the forced vibration tests on the Hualien large-scale seismic test structure which was recently built in Taiwan for an international joint research. The parameters identified are the shear moduli of several near-field soil regions as well as Young's moduli of the shell sections of the structure. The soil-structure interaction system is represented by the finite element method combined with infinite element formulation for the unbounded layered soil medium. Preliminary investigations are carried out on the results of the static stress analysis for the soil medium and the results of the in-situ tests to divide the soil-structure system into several regions with homogeneous properties and to determine the lower and upper bounds of the parameters for the purpose of identification. Then two sets of parameters are identified for two principal directions based on the forced vibration test data by minimizing the estimation error using the constrained steepest descent method. The simulated responses for the forced vibration tests using the identified parameters show excellent agreement with the test data. The present estimated parameters are also found to be well compared with the average value of those by other researchers in the joint project. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.