Published in The 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, October 12-17, 2008, Beijing, China.
Most buildings having base isolation have been rehabilitated, that is, they were subjected to this seismic protection method for preservation purposes. The results achieved have been positive.
However, the consideration of base seismic isolation at the project’s design conception would optimize not only the architectural design, but also the seismic protection systems and would open up new design possibilities for earthquake prone regions. Baha´i Temple in Chile serves as an example of this. See Figure 3.
New technology-based seismic protection methods are very recent. The original idea was conceived a long time ago, but, in those days, it was impossible perform it. Nowadays, thanks to new materials and technologies, buildings can be provided with base isolation which separates the building from the ground movement and absorbs earthquake energy. Thus, the structure that lies on the isolators avoids severe damages. An earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale can be perceived as 5.5. The damage level caused by one or the other is drastically different.
This new approach involves a conceptual and attitudinal evolution as well as a change in the decisions to be taken for solving the problem. On the one hand, the emphasis is put on controlling the damages by designing them, but not on eliminating them. On the other hand, the stress is laid on achieving a major damage reduction by using new mechanisms. The solution is rather different and requires adaptation to the changes that brings new considerations for the concept of reducing earthquake-caused damages on buildings.