A new buckling restrained braced frame system is proposed for reinforced concrete building structures, which is featured by the zigzag configuration of the braces and the corresponding connection details. The connection details tend to separate the vertical and horizontal components of force imposed by the braces to be resisted by independent structural components to make the behavior of the connection easier to estimate and control. The performance of the brace connection details was evaluated through cyclic load testing on 1/2-scale subassemblies of the proposed system, each of which consisted of a reinforced concrete part and a set of buckling restrained braces. To simplify the test control, the specimens were rotated 90° in the test and were loaded by two displacement controlled actuators. The test results show that the normal and the shear resistance of the gusset plate connection are essentially independent of each other. However, the rotation of the gusset plate with respect to the beam-to-column joint may result in nonuniform force distribution of the anchor bolts, the primary resistance for tensile force. At the same time, such rotation may also subject the concrete corbels, the primary shear resistance, to unfavorable tensile force. In addition, it is also confirmed that the buckling restrained braces performed well in the proposed system. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.