A simplified elastic hand method for estimating forces in asymmetric multi-bent structures subjected to horizontal loading is presented. The structures may consist of combinations of coupled walls, rigid frames, braced frames and wall-frames with shear walls. Results for structures that are uniform in height compare closely with results from stiffness matrix analysis. The method is developed from coupled-wall deflection theory, which is expressed in nondimensional structural parameters. It accounts for bending deformations in all individual members as well as for axial deformations in the vertical members and is, therefore, more accurate for very tall structures. A closed solution of coupled differential equations for deflection and rotation gives the deflected shape along the height of the building. The proposed method of analysis offers a relatively simple and rapid means of comparing the shear forces and bending moments of different stability systems for a proposed tall building. The derivation of equations for analysis shown in this paper are for unisymmetric stability systems only, but the method is also applicable to general asymmetric structures. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.