Structural vibration control using active or passive control strategy is a viable technology for enhancing structural functionality and safety against natural hazards such as strong earthquakes and high wind gusts. Both the active and passive control systems have their limitations. The passive control system has limited capability to control the structural response whereas the active control system depends on external power. The power requirement for active control of civil engineering structures is usually quite high. Thus, a hybrid control system is a viable solution to alleviate some of the limitations. In this paper a multi-objective optimal design of a hybrid control system for seismically excited building structures has been proposed. A tuned mass damper (TMD) and an active mass driver (AMD) have been used as the passive and active control components of the hybrid control system, respectively. A fuzzy logic controller (FLC) has been used to drive the AMD as the FLC has inherent robustness and ability to handle the non-linearities and uncertainties. The genetic algorithm has been used for the optimization of the control system. Peak acceleration and displacement responses non-dimensionalized with respect to the uncontrolled peak acceleration and displacement responses, respectively, have been used as the two objectives of the multi-objective optimization problem. The proposed design approach for an optimum hybrid mass damper (HMD) system, driven by FLC has been demonstrated with the help of a numerical example. It is shown that the optimum values of the design parameters of the hybrid control system can be determined without specifying the modes to be controlled. The proposed FLC driven HMD has been found to be very effective for vibration control of seismically excited buildings in comparison with the available results for the same example structure but with a different optimal absorber. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.