State-of-the-art Application of Seismic Isolation to Ancient Heritage Cathedrals in Haiti

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. In particular, a Cathedral damaged during the 2010 and earlier earthquakes, was retrofitted with seismic isolators. The design objectives for the structure was to minimize alterations to superstructure and thus to preserve the historical vintage, while providing enhanced seismic performance for large earthquakes. A key feature of this building is that the main lateral load resisting system was comprised of the URSM walls (stone and URSM without reinforcement). Detailed global mathematical models of the buildings were subjected to motions with site-specific spectrum-compatible emotions. The seismic retrofit goal is to limit the wall drift ratios and accelerations to protect URSM walls. Additional localized finite element analysis and in-situ testing and condition assessments are performed and verified the efficacy of the seismic retrofit solution.

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