The response of the benchmark building is investigated under across-wind loads. The governing equations of motion are solved by employing state space theory. Generally, the dampers are connected to successive floors of a building (Type-I arrangement). As the relative velocity and inter-storey drift between the alternate floors would be larger, the performance of dampers is studied by connecting them to alternate stories with two innovative (Type-II and Type-III) arrangements, and the comparison of response is made with that of the conventional (Type-I) arrangement. Optimization of location and number of dampers is also carried out with the help of a controllability index, which is obtained with the help of root-mean-square value of the inter-storey drift. Further, a parametric study of semi-active variable friction dampers and linear viscous dampers by varying gain multiplier and damping ratio, respectively, is carried out. From the numerical study, it is observed that Type-II and Type-III arrangements are found to be quite effective in reducing the response quantities. It is also found that a considerable amount of economy is achieved by optimization of location of dampers. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.