Incorporating concepts of seismic resistance and experimental design methodologies to students’ projects

(with Rodrigo Martin, accepted for the 16th World Conference of Earthquake Engineering).

More than 10 years ago, it has been implemented in the Architecture School of University of Santiago the subject of Laboratory as a main axis of the curriculum, parallel and associated with the course of design workshop. This subject offers a deepening in technical knowledge of diverse nature and skills based in experimentation processes, essential aspects of the graduate profile of the School. In the second year of undergraduate studies, one of the main themes of the Laboratory is structural design and behavior. For this purpose, the students develop designs of structural systems which are then tested to evaluate their performance. This paper presents the methodology and results of this process of experimentation and the integration of the results in the design workshop course, concluding in a technique of seismic conception.

One of the experimental techniques used is the shaking table test that allow students to analyze the seismic behavior of their designs. The process for this exercise begins with a research of the students about the concepts of seismic resistance. They explore this concepts by studying structural configurations that are familiar to them, like structures find in nature or quotidian objects. Next, they develop a structural configuration that synthesize their previous analysis of seismic resistance. The students later proceed to test their structure models on the shaking table, to evaluate their seismic performance and come up with modifications that will improve their resistance. The models are updated after every test until an appropriate response is achieved. At the end of the process, the students draw conclusions about their design, the modifications that needed to be made and the characteristics of a successful structural configuration.

In the meantime, students begin to work in a project for the design workshop course, which emphasize structural design. All of their experience and learning from the Laboratory course is extrapolated to their projects, where teachers evaluate the structural criteria applied. This enables students to conceive an architecture that incorporates concepts of structural behavior and seismic resistance.


Work by 2nd year students Makarena Araya and Nicole Bustamante – Universidad de Santiago de Chile – ©R. Calderón & G. Moroni


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