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Timber Frames and Solid Walls: Earthquake Resilient Construction from Roman Times to the Origins of the Modern Skyscraper

Abstract

This paper explores what can be learned from the earthquake performance of simple, unsophisticated, non-engineered timber and masonry historical construction that resists earthquakes compared to that of modern reinforced concrete frame buildings of varying construction quality that are common in much of the world’s seismically active areas. The paper includes an analysis of the observations in the 1930s by American seismic engineer, John Ripley Freeman, about the 1908 Messina-Reggio earthquake and the comparative performance of the 18th century baraccata construction mandated by the Bourbon government after the 1783 Calabria earthquake.

Keywords

  • Traditional construction
  • Timber
  • Masonry
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Earthquakes
  • Seismic
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Hımış
  • Dhajji dewari

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Acknowledgments

The author thanks UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, The American Academy in Rome, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), IIEES, World Monuments Fund and various governments and organizations in the different countries discussed for assistance and support for the research used for this paper.

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Langenbach, R. (2015). Timber Frames and Solid Walls: Earthquake Resilient Construction from Roman Times to the Origins of the Modern Skyscraper. In: Ruggieri, N., Tampone, G., Zinno, R. (eds) Historical Earthquake-Resistant Timber Frames in the Mediterranean Area. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16187-7_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16187-7_3

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