Conflict and Natural Disasters
Earthquake proof or earthquake resistant structures
Salam to all Archnet members.

My query is with regards to the recent earthquake happenings in the South Asian region. The question that continously prevails in my mind is whether it is possible to have earthquake proof structures at all. Or, is building earthquake resistant structures the more reasonable response to it?

By earthquake resistant structures, I mean structures that give adequate warning and time to their inhabitants to evacutate before collapsing.

Although, in my mind, I am highly convinced that any structure in those earthquake regions must be lightweight and be reusable in terms of materials (in case of collapse or destruction).
Nadia Alvi
Earthquake proof or earthquake resistant structures
"Earthquakeproof" structures are too expensive to be considered for general use. "Earthquake resistant" structures are cheaper and so (theoretically) more readily available.

So yes, I agree with you Nadia, the important issue is to save lives not buildings. :)))

The essence of earthquake resistant design is buildings with some type of fibrous load-bearing framework which will flex and warp but not collapse.

Traditional building design in both Japan and Turkey are worth examining because these designs were created to be "earthquake resistant" before the arrival of machinery powered by fossil fuels. In Turkey (where I live), there are quite a few traditional Ottoman houses with stone walled ground floors and timber-framed upper floors and this design is virtually timeless.

An equally important issue is the retro-fitting of earthquake resistant features to buildings already built. Given that furniture in Asian houses is usually minimal particularly in rural areas. I would recommend the use of a "poster bed" which has four solid posts at the corners of the bed and a sound roof over the bed. Similarly, the very heavy traditional (western) kitchen table would provide shelter from building collapse. Given the usual lack of adequate supplies of wood and timber in many earthquake prone areas. It may be possible to make both bed and table frames from tubular steel and could perhaps answer your condition of "lightweight and resuseable materials"...

...In passing, in the mid 1970s I invented and patented (now lapsed) a probable "earthquake resistant" design which could be used for future housing.
Frank John Snelling


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