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Seismic performance & strengthening of traditional earthen buildings in Latin America

Event organised by Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics

28 September 2022

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Throughout the world, millions of people are at risk because they live in unreinforced earthen dwellings, which have consistently shown extremely poor structural behaviour during earthquakes. Every single earthquake occurring in these areas has caused unacceptable loss of life, injuries, and property damage. Earthquakes are recurrent and construction damage is cumulative. It is urgent, therefore, to devise low-cost, easy-to-implement seismic reinforcement systems and to make them available to the actual dwellers.

A group of researchers at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú has been working towards that goal, especially on improving the seismic capacity of one-storey adobe dwellings. It has proposed construction methodologies for a seismic reinforcement system consisting of a mesh of nylon ropes that confines all earthen walls. This reinforcement system would help to stop the walls from collapsing due to seismic shaking.


Marcial Blondet PhD

Marcial Blondet PhD

Catholic University of Peru

professor of civil engineering

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Marcial Blondet PhD

Marcial Blondet is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the Catholic University of Peru. He obtained Master's and PhD degrees in engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Blondet is a specialist in earthquake engineering and structural dynamics and has ample experience in the experimental study of the seismic behaviour of structures. His main research interests are the development of low-cost solutions to mitigate the seismic risk of informal earthen and masonry dwellings, the conservation of earthen historical monuments in seismic areas, and the use of energy dissipation and base isolation systems for the seismic protection of buildings.

He belongs to the research groups GERDIS (Disaster Risk Management Group in Social Infrastructure and Low-Cost Housing), GRIDHAL (Research Group on Human Development and Expansion of Freedoms), and the Terra Center. He has advised the thesis work of numerous undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students.