Seismic Resistance and Contemporary Design

Considerations about the influence of seismic conditions in architecture.

(Published in Revista Arquitectura y Cultura nº5, 2014, Santiago: Universidad de Santiago de Chile, link to magazine).

In architecture, seismic resistance has always been seen as an obstacle that prevents architects from designing freely. Its requirements are seen as a restriction that most would like to avoid, resulting in its exclusion from the architectural discussion. This work tries to reveal the opportunities that rise when seismic resistance is incorporated as a design factor. This would not only favor and optimize the behavior of buildings confronted to earthquakes, but it would also offer a new source of innovation for architecture.

Currently, we can find examples in contemporary architecture of projects where the authors have managed how to integrate earthquake resistance criteria as a tool for design. The resulting projects rethink the already known architectural concepts, by finding a common language between design and seismic conditions. The latter no longer appears as a limitation or a set of rules to follow, but as an agent that promotes and enhances the design of the project.

This next article is based in the research for the thesis: “Characterization of spatial aspects of earthquake architecture: impacts of seismic methods on the flexibility and transparency of contemporary architecture”, presented by the author for obtaining the degree of Master in Architectural Civil Engineering in Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

Keywords: earthquake, structure, transparency, flexibility, innovation

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