Conflict and Natural Disasters
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia
Earthquake recently hit the region reflects how poor our concepts /practices and above all structures result in massive destruction. Question is are there any lessons learned for us/role and responsibilites of an Architect. Most important how should be the future preparation / planning or guideline could be devised ?
Syed Arif Shah
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia

I'm a graduate student in architecture and my speciality is architecture after disasters. I am preparing my doctorate in Geneva and I have worked for one year after the Algerian earthquake on how to build with seismic risk. We must understand the phenomenon and build houses that can save lives first, and if possible, save the building; then it's perfect.
Cheghnane Chafik
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia
The design of buildings to withstand seismic tremors is not something new. Many countries have included these parameters in their present building design codes, as I have said on another discussion here. From where I come from in New Zealand, we often refer to ourselves down there as "people of the shaky isles" because of the hundreds of shakes we experience every year...

I think it is too late to start deciding that earthquake resistant buildings ought to be studied. They have already been designed and parameters set already. I am based in Singapore and will be influencing the building industry by example with the work I am doing. If you want to learn more, look to New Zealand and one possible example of how to build and design, the Japanese also have learnt a lot from our experiences and they too are using better design in their building.

By all means all the new structures going up in Asia ought to be designed and built better. It is not theory. Let's put it into practise.
David Michael James Davies
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia

In your opinion, is seismic design something to do with economics as in our part of the world (Pakistan) and other underdeveloped nations?

Engaging designers and investing in infrastructure in low income areas, especially in non-urban context, is very much unaffordable. However, recent quakes suggest that something has to be done. How do developed nations handle their low income settlements for seismic design? Please enlighten us.
Syed Arif Shah
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia
hello and happy new year to Syed....
I had not come back to this forum untill now...and in answer to your it is not in the infrastructure of the community that earthquake design is is in the building methods and materials used. I does not take a lot of engineers and designers to figure out how to build the right way to resist the movements of buildings, just a few basic rules implemented and used in all the building tachniques.
David Michael James Davies
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia
hi Cheghnane Chafik, and Syed Arif Shah
interestingly, I am also doing my thesis on earthquake by focussing on the area of northen part of Pakistan, the most vulnerable area for earthquake hits. this is part of my master study at Post Graduate Center, human settlement, KU Leuven Belgium.

Apart of your good discussion I wish to add that, an architect must understand the tradtional wisdom of an area before doing any interventions in construction technology. And the interventions must be affordabale and sustainable for the local people,,,,,,secondly, I still not convinced the trend of designing of manuals, by proposing heavy structures,,,,,, I mean lighter, economical, and comfortable structures are desireable,,,,,

on the other hand, an architect must offer his services to plan post disaster reprecussions as well,,for example in the case of recent earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan, the major challenges observed are; how to access and approach effected areas, deal with landslides, temporary shelters, food, animal sheds(most ignored, but integral part of ural areas), occurance of accidental water ponds and lakes which can flood at any time and also topography and land values are changed and so on,,,,,,,,,these are few tangible hazards excluding transformation of urban values, building language and use and perception of space etc.

Overall, an architects role should be a balance keeping in view both socioeconomic and spatial aspects,,,,,,,,,,,
Ali Ahmed Shah
Importance of seismic design in Southeast Asia

I think I will agree to what David says. The problem of houses collapsing has got a lot to do with people having forgotten traditional house building methods.

Uttasranchal in India is also in a similar zone. As students of architecture we had been shown photgraphs of a lot of village houses built with Random rubble, mud-lime mortar & tied with wood ... withstanding earthquakes for centuries.
In Latur, so many people would not have died, if they had lighter roofs (thats ofcourse just one of the point)
In Gujrat, a lot of damage was done due to faulty construction practises.
So it is basically human ERROR which is more at fault in this subcontinent ...
If we can mix modern technology with traditional techniques, we may be able to come up with very viable solutions.
Economics is not the only factor..... It could be awareness also....
Chitradeep Sengupta


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