Earthquake-resistant structures

Earthquake-resistant or aseismic structures are designed to protect buildings to some or greater extent from earthquakes. While no structure can be entirely immune to damage from earthquakes, the goal of earthquake-resistant construction is to erect structures that fare better during Seismic activity than their conventional counterparts. According to building codes, earthquake-resistant structures are intended to withstand the largest earthquake of a certain probability that is likely to occur at their location. This means the loss of life should be minimized by preventing collapse of the buildings for rare earthquakes while the loss of the functionality should be limited for more frequent ones.[1]

Model of the Gaiola pombalina (pombaline cage), an architectural, earthquake-resistant wooden structure developed in Portugal in the 18th century for the reconstruction of Lisbon's pombaline downtown after the devastating 1755 Lisbon earthquake

To combat earthquake destruction, the only method available to ancient architects was to build their landmark structures to last, often by making them excessively stiff and strong.

Currently, there are several design philosophies in earthquake engineering, making use of experimental results, computer simulations and observations from past earthquakes to offer the required performance for the seismic threat at the site of interest. These range from appropriately sizing the structure to be strong and ductile enough to survive the shaking with an acceptable damage, to equipping it with base isolation or using structural vibration control technologies to minimize any forces and deformations. While the former is the method typically applied in most earthquake-resistant structures, important facilities, landmarks and cultural heritage buildings use the more advanced (and expensive) techniques of isolation or control to survive strong shaking with minimal damage. Examples of such applications are the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Acropolis Museum.[citation needed]


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