The planner of today
cannot go out from a „tabula rasa“ situation any more. Environmental and
sustainability issues have already formed the public idea that a „green belt“
of our cities is necessary, a kind of fortification leading to intensive
development of towns inside a clearly delimitated area within the surrounding
nature. Since building on the periphery is limited, and the existing built
substance has a certain cultural, architectural or at least environmental
value, upgrading of existing buildings gains more and more ground from the
design of new buildings. While in the majority of cases this upgrading means
bringing the buildings to the comfort required by changed living standards,
earthquake prone countries face a particular challenge given by the necessity
to bring them also to an corresponding safety standard.
and unreinforced masonry constructions are the ones most damaged in earthquakes
across Europe and hence the development and application of retrofit methods for
this kind of structures is most stringent. Masonry has been already recognised
as construction material par excellence for historic structures. Recognised
specialists worldwide are carrying out research on both the performance of
common and monumental buildings with masonry structure [D. D'Ayala, G. Croci,
S. Lagomarsiono/RISK-UE, G. Magenes, C. Oliveira, R. Sofronie, M. Tomazevic,
etc.]. Reinforced concrete is not. The reason for this may lay in the fact that
concrete has not been employed for long, thus buildings with concrete structure
are generally regarded as „not old enough“ to be considered historical.
To contradict this
presumption one shall only think of the blocks of flats in Chicago, where the
possibilities of concrete were used to build in the height before of those
given by steel. Concrete is a construction material widely employed in the
earthquake prone areas of south-east Europe. For new buildings it was the material for which design and
technique were taught most extensively, if not the only one, in Romania.
Greek literature on concrete technology is also highest quality
[Penelis&Kappos, 1997]. But its use began shortly after the discovery of
the new possibilities given by a new material.
Before being employed
„en mass“ in earthquake prone areas of Europe concrete reached France.
The „Immeuble de logements Rue Franklin“, by architect Auguste Perret, designed
1903 and built 1903-1904 is the most exemplificative forerunner of what derived
into the so-called inter-bellum style in Romania. Further „immeubles“ in Paris from
turn-of-the-century show similar characteristics to the Romanian regarding the
urbanistic and functional structure. And not only. Also while employing it was
usual to perform computations according to rules which came from France
(as documented by Prager, 1979), or from Germany.
The German circular from 1925 was most employed, although it regarded design
for gravitational loads only. In Germany
right now the vulnerability of Romanian inter-bellum buildings is being
researched, from a point of view which combines approaches from geosciences and
from engineering (SFB 461). The architectural aspects and the hereto related
portability are not.
The „immeubles du
beton“ in turn-of-century Paris or in interwar time in Romania
are representants of the same architectural current: the Avantgarde, also
called „the modern movement“. And avant-garde buildings are of historical
value. The association DOCOMOMO aims the „DOcumentation and Conservation of
buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the MOdern MOvement“. However, again, so
few of them have concrete as structure building material. Or at least so few of
them are documented. Recent research of the applicant has shown little success
in looking for such buildings in Slovenia,
an earthquake prone country, which gave architects of international size to the
times of the Modern Movement. Especially regarding multiple housing units. And
in Germany there are no innovative „pure iron-concrete frame“ buildings of the
Modern Movement known to the applicant.
interdisciplinary nature of the problem stated needs a decision model based on
which the actors involved in the implementation of a retrofit measure can
interact. Multiattributive decision models (Strassert, 1995; ATC-40) build a
basis for this.
Research on possible
implementation programmes in the existing policy environment have been carried
out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the USA (FEMA 173-174), but
continued interest of the applicant on “Natural Hazards Impact on Urban Areas
and Infrastructure” leaded to collecting recent research contributions through
the scientific organisation of meetings. Also, the applicant has contributed to
progress in research on housing in earthquake prone countries, as it will be
Providing safe and affordable housing is one of the duties
we have towards future generation. Conservation of the cultural heritage of the
architecture of the Modern Movement is another one. And the reinforced concrete
multiple housing units have not been researched enough.