Seismic Isolation Retrofit of a Historical Cathedral in Haiti

1H. Kit Miyamoto, Ph.D., 2Amir SJ Gilani, Ph.D., and 3Akira Wada

1Miyamoto International, West Sacramento, California
2Miyamoto International, West Sacramento, California
3Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan


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The 2010 Haiti Earthquake devastated the country and resulted in many casualties and enormous damage to infrastructure. Following the event, the authors visited the country, conducted a damage assessment program, and developed retrofit programs. While the bulk of retrofit has focused on traditional upgrade of residential units, seismic protection devices (isolators and dampers) were used to provide enhanced performance for important and historical buildings. I particular, two Cathedrals damaged during the 2010 and early earthquakes, were retrofitted with seismic isolators. The design objectives for these structures was to minimize alterations to superstructure and thus to preserve the historical vintage, while providing near operational performance for large earthquakes. A key feature of these buildings is that the main lateral load resisting system is comprised of the rubble walls (stone and rubble without reinforcement). Detailed global mathematical models of the buildings were subjected to motions with site-specific spectrum compatible emotions. The seismic retrofit goal was to limit the wall drift ratios and accelerations to protect rubble walls. Additional localized finite element analysis and in-situ testing and condition assessments were performed and verified the efficacy of the seismic retrofit solution.

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