Conflict and Natural Disasters
Earhquake resistant rural and urban architecture

The recent earthquake of Bam resulting in more than 30,000 deaths and equally large number of people are injured is shocking. Why is that the advances in human knowledge is not accessible to these rural and urban communities? The awareness earthquake resistant buildings and training in science and technology of earthquake resistant architecture and engineering need to be spread all over the world, particularly in the third world countries.

Having seen the devastation of villages of Latur and Osmanabad district in Maharashtra, India (1993) and destruction of rural and urban settlements in Kutchh, Surendranagar, Rajkot and Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat, India (2001)one can feel the pain and trauma of earthquake victims of Bam and surround region of Iran.

Apart from mobilising the relief and assisting in rehabilitation efforts, we need to probe deeper into the issues and reach out to these rural and urban communities. Are the architects, civil and service engineers, planners, urban designers and landscape designers prepared and equipped with the know-how to render such services? Do we educate our students in earthquake resistant rural and urban architecture? In India, we have 5 year long studies of structures in architectural courses and as part of the course the study of earthquake resistant structure and design are dealt with generally but not adequately.

At Rizvi College of Architecture we have conducted such studies in collaboration with the Technical University of Graz over a long period of time and we have been engaged with some relief and rehabilitation activities. But that is not enough, we need to do a lot more to be able to render emergency aid and professional and community services in such an emergency. I imagine that every school of architecture and institute of engineering must have know how and infrastructure to render the assistance and join hands with the emergency services as and when called upon to do so. The international organisations, national and state governments, the corporate and co-operative sectors need to provide the needed funds and support to develop such a know how and capabilities.

Let us pray for souls departed and wish the injured a speedy recovery. Let us reach out to the families and people concerned. Let us contribute whatever we can to enable rebuilding of the communities affected and devastated by the earthquake with appropriate and sustainable technologies. Amen.

with warm regards,
Akhtar Chauhan
Earhquake resistant rural and urban architecture
Dear friends,

There are many sites to get the basic information on earthquake resistant architecture and engineering.

The World Housing Encylopedia has a lot of relevant information, which can be accessed on

The International Association of Earthquake Engineering and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute has an on-going programme on reasearch and interaction on the issues.

Earthquake Resistant Construction of Adobe Building: A tutorial provides an interesting insight into one of the most basic material of construction and how to make it earthquake resistant. Since most of the buildings in Iran were constructed out of mud blocks / bricks this may of some use. At the same time all students of architecture and engineering must have this know-how in dealing with basic and advanced materials and technologies to make our buildings earthquake resistant.

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
Earhquake resistant rural and urban architecture
dear all!
certainly (at least) the basic technical knowhow abt earthquake resistant structures is a must for architects. it is to be noted that in a country like india where the earthquake technology is lagging behind by 40 years from japan and 25 years from USA ; the earthquake-proof structures have yet not been developed. but still, architects can design in such a way to minimize the losses due to the earthquake.
even the IS codes have included earthquake load alongwith wind/dead/live/other lodas for structural design.
unfortunately, very few institutuions offer some courses in earthquake.
fortunately, in my college architecture students can go thru three courses on earthquake engg viz.
1. understanding earthquake disaster
2. introduction to earthquake engineering
3. seismology.
the former two are of real great use to architectural design methodology and are specially structured for architects.
to get to know about the structural symmetry and the location of center of rigidity of a structure designed, i believe, is a must for architects.
as per the report given by earthquake engg deptt of IIT roorkee, the greater loss in bhuj earthquake was not due to the earthquake itself...rather due to poor structural design, whereas most of the "designed" buildings were intact.
the fact has opened lots of scope for architects in disaster mitigation. earthquake resistant measures are to become mandatory in delhi buildings to come up.
a bitter truth is that the professors in earthquake engg deptt never allow us make appealing innovations in the structural really becomes frustrating for us; anyway, most of the minimalist structures do come out to perform better in earthquake.
the website suggested by prof. chauhan is really full of information specially the data base.
the technical details of gujrat earthquakes can be accessed from

P Das


This site is adjusted only for landscape mode. Please rotate your device for properly using
We are sorry, we are still working on adjusting for Metro IE. Please use another browser for the best experience with our site.