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Earthquakes: The Latest Architecture and News

SET Architects' Climbing-Frame Inspired Sassa School Prioritizes Adaptability

Ten years after a destructive earthquake rocked Italy's central Abruzzo region, many students still attend class in temporary modules similar to containers. Named winners of an international competition, SET Architects’ design for the new “Sassa School Complex” proposes reconstructing a place for students and the community to learn, gather, and grow. Inspired by the modularity and essential nature of climbing frame play structures, the architects describe the design as a metaphor for “freedom and social aggregation as a fundamental value for dynamic and innovative teaching.”

Sassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET ArchitectsSassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET ArchitectsSassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET ArchitectsSassa School Complex / SET Architects. Image Courtesy of SET Architects+ 28

Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Architectus Design Earthquake-Resistant Library in Christchurch

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Architectus have announced the opening of Tūranga, the new central library for Christchurch, New Zealand. Built to address the earthquakes that damaged Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, the library is one of the first public buildings to open downtown after the disasters. Working with Architectus and the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand’s South Island, the design was made to celebrate rebirth in Christchurch.

Tūranga Library, Christchurch. Image © Adam MørkTūranga Library, Christchurch. Image © Adam MørkTūranga Library, Christchurch. Image © Adam MørkTūranga Library, Christchurch. Image © Adam Mørk+ 31

The Engineering Behind San Francisco's Safest Building

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Skyscraper's Innovative Structure is Changing the Game for Earthquake Design".

The most remarkable thing about 181 Fremont—San Francisco’s third-tallest tower, designed by Heller Manus Architects—is not the penthouse’s asking price ($42 million). Rather, it’s an innovative yet unglamorous structural detail: a viscous damper system that far exceeds California Code earthquake-performance objectives for buildings of 181 Fremont’s class, allowing immediate reoccupation after a seismic event.

The Failed Mexican Earthquake Memorial That Shows Protest Can Still Shape the Urban Environment

The proposed memorial to earthquake victims in Mexico City met with fierce resistance from residents who felt authorities had not done enough for the people left homeless by the tragedy. Image via Common Edge
The proposed memorial to earthquake victims in Mexico City met with fierce resistance from residents who felt authorities had not done enough for the people left homeless by the tragedy. Image via Common Edge

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "Letter From Mexico City: An Insidious Memorial to a Still-Unfolding Tragedy."

You wouldn’t think it looking at Mexico City today—a densely populated metropolis, where empty space is hard to come by—but decades earlier, following a devastating earthquake on September 19, 1985, more than 400 buildings collapsed, leaving a collection of open wounds spread over the cityscape.

Exactly thirty-two years later, the anniversary of that disaster was ominously commemorated with an emergency evacuation drill. Then, in one of those odd occurrences in which reality proves to be stranger than fiction, a sudden jolt scarcely two hours after the drill led to what would be yet another of the deadliest earthquakes in the city’s history. Buildings once again collapsed, leaving a rising-by-the-hour death toll that eventually reached 361, as well as swarms of bewildered citizens wandering the streets, frantically attempting to reach their loved ones through the weakened cell phone reception. “We’d just evacuated for the drill,” people said, like a collective mantra. “How could this happen again?”

A “Christmas Tale of a Post-Quake Reconstruction”: Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Community Rebuilding in Amatrice

In August 2016, a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, resulting in the loss of nearly 300 lives and the destruction of centuries-worth of historic architecture. At the center of the destruction was Amatrice, a beautiful hill town set in the Latium Apennines, which was reduced to mere rubble, leaving hundreds dead or injured and the survivors homeless.

But the community could not be held down. Shortly after the disaster, rebuilding efforts began, with the assistance of some of Italy’s top architects, including Renzo Piano and Stefano Boeri Architetti, who were able to construct a brand new canteen in just a few weeks time.

© Paolo Rosselli© Paolo Rosselli© Paolo Rosselli© Paolo Rosselli+ 15

Jintai Village Reconstruction / Rural Urban Framework

via Rural Urban Frameworkvia Rural Urban Frameworkvia Rural Urban Frameworkvia Rural Urban Framework+ 27

UBC Researchers Develop New Concrete That Resists Earthquakes

Researchers from the university of British Columbia have developed a new fiber-reinforced concrete treatment that can “dramatically [enhance] the earthquake resistance of seismically vulnerable [structures].”

Called EDCC (eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite), the material is engineered at the molecular level to react similarly to steel – with high strength, ductility and malleability. When sprayed onto the surface of traditionally poured interior concrete walls, it reinforces against seismic intensities as high as the magnitude 9.0-9.1 earthquake that hit Tohoku, Japan in 2011.

Many Feared Dead or Trapped After Earthquake Topples Buildings Throughout Mexico

Following the devastating earthquake measuring 7.1 in magnitude that struck Mexico yesterday at 13:14 local time, many—over 200 people at the time of writing—are feared either dead or trapped in collapsed buildings or unsafe structures. While rescue efforts continue and information surrounding the scope of devastation is preliminary, schools are closed indefinitely and major companies and organizations have requested their employees not to work.

The death toll continues to rise while ArchDaily México, which is located in Mexico City, reports wide-reaching destruction of the built fabric of the capital. Footage captured by terrified residents show the final moments of buildings—many taller than four stories—that were reduced to dust and debris in seconds.

Learn About Seismic Design of Wooden Buildings With These Online Resources

With the aim of raising awareness and expanding knowledge about the advantages of wood in the built environment, reThink Wood has created an online library that collects a series of articles, reports, studies and videos that can be freely accessed right now.

Here we have 5 outstanding resources related to seismic design and performance, which can help you solve this issue on your next project.

Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake Strikes Central Italy; Borromini's "La Sapienza" Among Structures Damaged in Rome

Following an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale that struck central Italy this morning at 7:40 a.m. local time—the fourth to hit this part of the country in three months—a number of structures have collapsed entirely or been severely damaged. While no deaths have been reported at this time, the BBC suggests that twenty people have been injured.

This latest tragedy follows an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale which hit a nearby region in August of this year, killing 300 and causing widespread devastation to towns and villages. It is being suggested that the evacuation of buildings that were deemed vulnerable to the ongoing seismic activity in the region last week may have saved lives.

Earthquake Resistant Tower in San Francisco to Become Most Resilient Tall Building on West Coast

Soaring high above! #SanFrancisco #RealEstate #181Fremont #LEED #tech #office

181 Fremont—which will become the third tallest structure in San Francisco and the most resilient tall building on the West Coast of the U.S.—has been awarded the REDi™ Gold Rating, a new earthquake resilience rating. The building was designed by San Francisco-based Heller Manus Architects.

The 56-story mixed-use tower, built above five basement levels, is being constructed in compliance with a new set of holistic design and planning guidelines—the Resilience-based Earthquake Design Initiative (REDi Rating System)—that allow it to withstand the impact of a 475-year seismic event (roughly a M7.5-M8.0 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault) with minimal disruption.

Developed by Arup with contributions from external collaborators, the REDi™ system outlines design and planning criteria within a resilience-based framework, creating a system that not only considers occupant safety but also takes into account the future of the building after an earthquake.

Renzo Piano to Lead Reconstruction Efforts Following Italian Earthquake

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has asked architect Renzo Piano to lead in the reconstruction of the central Italian towns devastated by last week’s magnitude 6.2 earthquake that claimed the lives of at least 290 people. Renzi announced a national action plan for recovery and risk prevention on Monday after meeting with Piano to discuss strategies for housing the over 3,000 displaced survivors and rebuilding the historic towns in a manner that would mitigate damage caused by future seismic activity.

“We have to act quickly, with the utmost urgency,” said Piano in a telephone interview with The Guardian. “Anti-seismic requirements must be inserted in the laws of the country to make our homes safe, just as it’s compulsory for a car to have brakes that work.”

Experts Fear Massive Losses of Historic Italian Architecture Following Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake

After yesterday’s devastating magnitude 6.2 earthquake in central Italy, art historians fear that numerous historic Italian buildings and their contents may be permanently lost. The affected region is dotted with hilltowns containing beautiful churches, monuments and museums, many of which have been rendered completely unrecognizable.

Shigeru Ban to Help With Disaster Relief Following Ecuador Earthquake

Japanese architect and 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban will visit Ecuador on April 30 to help with disaster relief following the recent earthquake, according to a press release from the College of Ecuadorian Architects – Pichincha Province (CAE Pichincha). Known for bringing innovative and high quality design to the people that need it the most, Ban has developed successful responses to disasters in Asia, Africa, Europe and Central America.

Barberio Colella ARC Designs Pop-Up Home to Rebuild Nepalese Lives in "Just a Minute"

Disaster can strike a community at any minute. Following the most costly earthquake in their history in April, hundreds of thousands of Nepalese residents were rendered instantly homeless. To help these people reorganize and get back to a familiar way of life, Barberio Colella ARC has designed a temporary structure using local materials “to make a house that can be built quickly, lightweight and compactly, durably and economically.”

Courtesy of Barberio Colella ARCDeployment System. Image Courtesy of Barberio Colella ARCCourtesy of Barberio Colella ARCComponents. Image Courtesy of Barberio Colella ARC+ 8

[ME]morial Thesis Honors 2011 Japan Earthquake Victims

On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the coast of Japan at Sendai, damaging the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and taking over 10,000 lives. Over the past three years, only temporary memorial observances have been utilized to honor these victims in Sendai. To address this deficiency, MIT graduate student Beomki Lee has created a concept design for an innovative new memorial space called [ME]morial.

[ME]morial #2: Earth. Image Courtesy of Beomki Lee[ME]morial #3: Water. Image Courtesy of Beomki Lee[ME]morial #3: Water. Image Courtesy of Beomki Lee[ME]morial #1: Air. Image Courtesy of Beomki Lee+ 14

Timelapse: How to Build an Emergency Shelter with Scaffolding and Local Materials

Designed and developed by Pilosio Building Peace, RE:BUILD is a construction system for building refugee camps and facilities for emergency assistance. The temporary modular structures can be used as houses, schools, clinics, dining areas or any other space that is urgently needed.