Tuesday, 31 July 2012

ICELAND: THE MOST PEACEFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS MOULDED BY THE HARSHEST GEOLOGY

2010 ERUPTION OF EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL

Due to the attention and reception this article has received, I have decided to publish it in English so as to reach a wider audience. Enjoy!


       - Antonio

1. INTRODUCTION

According to the IEP, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. The two key factors that are responsible for the increase of peace are a decrease in the probability of violent demonstrations after a singular revolution and subsequent trial of its corrupt leaders, and a reduction in the capacity and sophistication of its military resources.

This is clearly due to an investment in culture decades ago. But to speak about Iceland is to speak about volcanoes, some of them famous because of their prominence in current events and in the loss of millions of euros for airlines, stocks, and shutdowns from a lack of primary resources in certain industries. Some will also remember this country from having been stuck in an airport. Nonetheless, the most famous and transcendent volcano in the history of the world is (besides Krakatoa or Vesuvius) the icelandic volcano Laki, not just because of its force, but because of its capacity to change the course of events in Europe and the entire world.


TEMPERATURES IN THE CENTRE OF GREAT BRITAIN; THE SHADOW OF LAKI (1783) LASTS FOR A DECADE

To speak about volcano Laki is to return to the origins of the French Revolution. In 1783 this Icelandic volcano, situated between Hekla and the Eyjafjallajokull glacier which returned to fame in 2010,  registered a prolonged and intense eruption. It emitted enough ash to devastate all the pastures of Iceland and thus cause the death of cattle and of half the population of Iceland. These ashes covered Europe for months, destroying crops and generating a hunger which spread throughout all of Europe. Death tolls rose dramatically in England and in Spain. In France, the eruption of Laki sparked the revolution. That eruption was one of the most powerful of the Icelandic volcano and it is one of the only ones for which there are historical records. The 2010 and 2011 eruptions resulted in enormous economic losses for airlines as well as the paralization of industries, the traffic of primary resources, and people; more than 8 million people were directly affected. Both eruptions, however, were trivial compared to those of 1783 and 1821-1823.  

THE ICELANDIC VOLCANOES
It has taken a land with one of the most violent geological climates, whose inhabitants are constantly exposed to earthquakes and erupting volcanoes, to reach the position of the most peaceful country in the world. Iceland is situated at the top as the nation that enjoys the greatest levels of peace. It is followed by New Zealand and Japan. Together, these three countries are those whose inhabitants have suffered the harshest geological disasters in recent times. We still remember the japanese earthquake of 2011, and those of Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as the Icelandic eruptions of 2010 and 2011.


ICELAND VOLCANO ERUPTION

Iceland, the most ancient democracy in the world ( 930 A.C., 500 years before England) is a curious country where one can divert a road or a highway for the sake of not disturbing a community of gnomes or earth spirits or fairies (of the flowers and the gardens), or where an ancient code only allows the cartography of islands and rocks if there are witnesses (seafarers) to at least one seagull's having landed; from this point on these islands or outcroppings can appear on maps, otherwise there would be no guarantee of their firmness and they could disappear. It is a culture that has been physically and psychologically moulded by its geology; a geology that has shaped the way of life of its inhabitant in a way that, to us Southern Europeans, is very difficult to understand. The goodness, generosity, and solidarity of Mother Nature is met in Iceland by its inhabitants with strength, and sudden ruptures of obsolete systems, be these rocks that appear and disappear by volcanic phenomena or economic systems that do not equitably favour a community of more than 300,000 people.

FIELDS OF HARDENED LAVA LEFT BEHIND BY THE ERUPTION OF LAKI IN 1783. BEHIND, THE ÖRAEFAJÖKULL. AT 2109m IT IS CONSIDERED THE MOST ACTIVE AND MOST DANGEROUS IN EUROPE AND ICELAND. IT HAS HAD TWO LARGE AND PROLONGED ERUPTIONS, ONE IN 1362 AND ONE IN 1727.

2. ICELAND, THE COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VIOLENT GEOLOGY IN THE WORLD, CHANGED HISTORY

In 1946, thanks to the invention of sonar, we were able to map out the cartography of the Atlantic Ocean and we observed the existence of a 'scar' that divided the planet from North to South: the mesoatlantic dorsal that separates the North American and Euroasiatic Plates. Twenty million years ago, this dorsal, that shifts and from which magma escapes, collided with an enormous column of rock which rose up and emerged as Iceland.

THE DORSAL: A PLACE TO BREATHE FOR THE EARTH


On top of being broken and divided in two, the island seats itself on an active column 650 km deep. In the same way that this mesodorsal separates America from Europe, Iceland grows at a rate of 2.5cm a year, one side is American and the other European. The Earth has found a place to breathe here.



THE OCEANIC DORSAL SEPARATES ICELAND, GROWING ALMOST 3CM A YEAR.

15th OF APRIL 2010: EUROPE BENEATH THE ASHES

Iceland generates a third of the world's lava. We are before the planet's most volcanic island: a latent fumarole which sometimes sends warnings like in 2010 and 2011, but at other times can scare us greatly or create changes in the climate of the world which can also affect the course of human events. It is evident that great changes in nature imply great changes in society, and, moreover, they can repeat themselves: we know that in 1783 the eruption of the volcano Laki seriously affected the world climate for three years.






It is calculated that the 1783 eruption of Laki caused, indirectly, two million deaths. European harvests were scarce: hunger, disease, and speculation with produce gave rise to the French Revolution. It was in fact a geological phenomenon that gave birth to such a change in the social, economic, and cultural expressions of the world, not to mention in human interactions; the beginnings of a modern democracy.

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. THE LAST CHANGE IN HUMANITY WAS BORN FROM A VOLCANO: LAKI



STROKKUR GEYSER
Laki's ashes covered Europe and destroyed harvests. The resultant famine shot up mortality rates in large swaths of continental Europe; the kingdoms of England and Spain were the most affected. But it was in the kingdom of France where the effects of Laki's eruption ignited the revolution.

This eruption was one of the strongest in modernity and it is one of the few which left historical records with scientific observations about its immediate effects. Years after the eruption, European soils were unable to bear a single fruit.

The ashes razed the first harvests and the volcanic gases provoked months of acid rain that destroyed many years' accumulation of crops. Fungi and other infestations plagued fruit trees and domestic animals. Farmers watched as their animals perished, victims of strange diseases provoked, among other things, directly or indirectly by the fluorine and sulphur that contaminated everything.

While the French people died of hunger, shrewd speculators grew rich on the black market with the shortage of food, many of them linked to the court. The anger of the French people was so great that it resulted in the beheading of their King, Louis XVI, and in the French Revolution. The rest, equality, fraternity, liberty, Enlightenment, and Republic, are history.




Iceland appears to be an inexhaustible geological source of geological and social events; even today it is a volcano of democratic revolutionary impulses. The recent eruption of two of Iceland's volcanoes and the associated paralysis of European air space for two consecutive years has coincided with a constitutional transformation and an example against economic speculation that strangely has not received the attention it deserves. The people of Iceland have taught us a great lesson: gambling with homes, food, and with the economy of citizens for the purposes of getting rich while impoverishing or ruining countries can have clear criminal implications.

Eyjafjallajökull is a stratovolcano formed around 700,000 years ago and it precedes any Icelander, no matter how clever he may think himself. It has been very active, experiencing eruptions around 550, in 1612, between 1821 and 1823, and in 2010, a year which marks a radical change in the establishment of a new Icelandic Constitution. When a people sees itself so small and vulnerable before the mighty force of Nature, economic speculation and enrichment at the cost of impoverishing an entire country lose all the sense they could seem to have when everything is going well.

THEIR INHABITANTS ARE CLEAR: DON'T GAMBLE WITH THE FUTURE

In the eruptions of 1821-1823 two volcanoes were active and erupting at the same time. This is possibly not the first time that this happens. These facts suggest to some vulcanologists that these systems are "mechanically" linked via the Earth's interior. The volcano erupted again the 20th of March, 2010, around midnight, after a 4.5 magnitude earthquake with other less intense earthquakes that announced this one. It erupted again a couple of days later, the 14th of April.

A SEIMIC MAP OF EUROPE
 ICELAND IS THE MOST SEISMICALLY ACTIVE NORTHERN COUNTRY

The chaos this caused in European airspace resulted in the loss of millions of euros for airline companies. That day there began a new eruption, some distance away, this time in the largest crater, just in the centre of the glacier, which caused the melting of the glacier and the consequent flooding of nearby rivers, provoking the evacuation of thousands of people. Water and fire allied in a powerful explosion. At that time the parallel social changes to so much geological activity were already taking shape in a more pacific form. Iceland was the subject of news for two reasons: because of the violence of its soil, and because of the peacefulness of its citizens in denouncing those responsible in the financial crash that left them bankrupt. 



EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL ERUPTING WITH AURORA BOREALIS

This eruption, with both water and fire was explosive; it is estimated that it was between 10 and 20 times superior to the previous eruption of the volcano Fimmvörðuháls.

This second eruption hurled volcanic ash into the atmosphere where it reached an altitude of several kilometres and dispersed itself over an area of thousands of square kilometres causing the interruption of air traffic in the Northeast of Europe.

The 15th of April of 2010, airports close and the airspace over the largest part of North and Central Europe is silent. More than 100,000 flights were cancelled. More than 8 million people were affected.






EL GRIMSVÖTN ERUPTING IN MAY 2011

Almost a year later, the icelandic volcano Grimsvötn flung its ashes into European airspace in May of 2011 and caused the suspension of hundreds of flights, though the crisis was much less severe than in 2010. The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, EUROCONTROL, revised its regulations for ashes in 2010, en 2011 it foresaw that the ash cloud would disperse earlier and its predictions rang true.






The European Comission highlighted that the new European regulations about volcanic ash had minimized problems in comparison with the crisis of May 2010. We had learned something: how to manage volcanic crises in Europe. 


3. ICELAND: THE MOST PEACEFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CHANGES HISTORY AGAIN

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, REYKJAVIC, ICELAND COMMEMORATING THE 67TH BIRTHDAY OF JOHN LENNON

In the last four years, since the financial crisis sank the most peaceful country in the world into abject poverty, they Icelandic people rose up to organize themselves along those particular parameters that are so linked to their explosive geology: the Government refused to assume the monumental debt of the three most important banks. It nationalized the banks, guaranteed the savings of its citizens and left at the lurch those foreigners, mostly British and Dutch, who had money in these banks. They refused to inject money and they left the banks to be the victims of their own greed. Moreover, dozens of cases of corruption of bank directors came to light and charges were eventually laid against conservative Geir Haarde, who had been the prime minister from 2006 to 2009 and who became the first head of state in the world to be put to the sidelines because of the financial crash and his disastrous management.

Haarde, accused of negligence for not having taken any measures against the imminent disaster, could be sentenced to two years in jail: he is accused of ignoring warnings and for not having done anything to curtail banks who had made themselves rich to the point that they were worth more than nine times the gross national product of the country and who had at the same time made wealthy various politicians and investors in a scandalous way, and who had thus sunken into poverty one of the most educated countries on the planet.

THE FIRSTS PROTESTS IN REYKJAVIK AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
At the end of 2008, the effects of the crisis in the Icelandic economy are devastating. In October Landsbanki, the most important bank in Iceland, is nationalized. The British Government freezes all its IceSave subsidiary, with 300,000 British clients and 910 millions of euros invested by local administrations and public entities in the United Kingdom. Landsbanki will be followed by the two other largest banks. Their principal clients are in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, clients whose governments have to reimburse with 3700 million euros of public money.

The currency collapses and the stock market suspends its activity after a 76% dive. The country is bankrupt. The government officially requests aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who approves a 2100 million dollar loan, complemented by another 2500 million from other Nordic Countries. Protests against the Government escalate. General elections are held from which emerges a coalition Government formed by the Social-Democratic Alliance and the Movement of the Green Left, headed by the new prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.

EVERY DAY AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT

Via a law amply discussed in parliament a law is proposed to repay the great debt to Great Britain and The Netherlands with a payment of 3500 million euros, a sum that all Icelandic families will pay monthly during the next 15 years at 5.5% interest. The populace once more takes to the streets and demands the law be subjected to a referendum. In January of 2010 the president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, refuses to ratify the law and announces that there will be a referendum.

In March the referendum is held and the resounding "NO" to the payment of the debt is given the force of 93% of votes. The Icelandic revolution thus achieves a new victory in a peaceful way. Since so much justice can not be exported (in case honesty and reason are contagious to the rest of the planet, something which would seriously endanger the interests of investors) in Iceland refugee initiatives are created for all those who want to enjoy freedom of expression; this surprising part of Icelandic history has practically no coverage in any world media.

But Icelanders put their focus on helping those for whom the dissemination of this revolution is an obstacle and for whom, in their countries, it is not possible to put into effect similar initiatives or protests, because of the interests of precisely those people who brought Iceland to ruin. The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative includes, among other things, protection to persecuted online content as the website falls under Icelandic sovereignty.

POT-BANGING, EGG-THROWING, THESE ARE THE WEAPONS THAT BROUGHT DOWN THE CORRUPT BANKS

The IMF, pressured by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as other countries that invested on Icelandic soil, freezes the economic aid to Iceland in the hopes that the repayment of the loan will be resolved. At this point the government has already begun an investigation into the responsibility for the crisis. The arrests begin: various bankers and top executives are detained. Interpol declares an order of international arrest for the now millionaire ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson. 

THE GULLFOSS CASCADE

In this context of crisis, an assembly is elected to draw up a new constitution which takes into account the lessons learned from the crisis and which will substitute the actual constitution which had been inspired by the Danish one. In drawing this up, the soverign educated populace is directly consulted. Twenty-five citizens without any political affiliation are selected from the 522 who presented themselves as candidates, for which it was only necessary to be a legal adult and to have the support of 30 citizens. The constitutional assembly began its work in February of 2011 and presented a charter built on the recommendations agreed upon in various assemblies that were held throughout the entire country.


THE BEST PART OF LIVING ON A LAND OF FIRE

Up until this point everything seemed ideal, however structural problems lay in wait that halted these advanced initiatives from the Icelandic people. The European Union sided with greed and denied Iceland entry until their debts were paid. Nonetheless, in the third trimester of 2010 the country begins to grow again, reaching 1.2% and showing the world that the state is in much better health without the need to rescue banks. By 2012 this figure will quadruple.





The Icelandic economy has begun to recover from the crisis, at the end of last year it returned to the international financial market and recuperated its note for Fitch investments in February. Fitch justified its decision as a reflection of the progress made to restore macroeconomic stability by taking into effect structural reforms and reconstructing the solvency of the sovereign debt. Iceland grew in 2011 to 3%.

The collapse of the value of the Icelandic króna made its exports more competitive. Also, in 2009, the new government kept going into debt and spending for a year until they started to make cutbacks. This contrasts with the case of the Eurozone countries that have problems with their public accounts, that, by having the Euro, are not able to devalue their money and have thus been doomed to harsh cutbacks and austerity measures when requesting aid from the IMF and the EU. Recently, the Fitch risk score agency lowered its mark for 5 european countries, among them Spain and Italy. Standards & Poor did the same with nine, including France. 

Icelandic prosecutors affirm that the government has a duty: to intervene in order to impede that banks become too large to be rescued in the event of a crisis, charging their debt upon their contributors. Top executives of the Kaupthing Bank were accused last month of fraud and manipulation. We other European countries don’t learn.

ICELAND IN A MINUTE



Other initiatives must be approved by the existing government and by the one that will emerge from the legislative elections, and there are other things to highlight from the revolutionary measures taken by the Icelandic parliament: the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the star project of the law that attempts to create a judicial framework destined towards protection of freedom of expression and information. 

The attempt is to make Iceland a secure refuge for investigative journalism and freedom of information. Where sources, journalists, and internet providers can hold journalistic information that could be prosecuted in other countries, some of which call themselves democratic. This still living initiative has already been attacked by organized groups reluctant to be investigated in a way that could bring to light their misdeeds. 

Haarde, prime minister from 2006 to 2009, is now 61 and is accused of having acted with negligence, violating the law of responsibility to the ministers, and of ignoring the warning signs that he received of an imminent collapse of the banks, crimes for which he may be condemned to two years in jail. Ultimately Haarde was found innocent, as predicted, but the feeling of rage against the crisis and the banks is still present. Otherwise, had he been found guilty, and sentenced to two years in jail, it would suggest that only one politician was responsible for a worldwide crisis. Haarde insisted that he'd been acquitted on the most serious charges that deal most directly with the origins and handling of the crisis. He characterized the lone conviction as relatively inconsequential and "ridiculous."

ICELAND IS NOW A PROSPEROUS NATION THAT WILL TRIPLE ITS GROWTH IN 2012  


Iceland had already begun its path by asking for entry into the European Commission. The restrictions are many and the interests on both sides are many as well. Again we have David versus Goliath. If their new leaders are more astute than ours, they will not enter into this investors’ club, where homes, food, and health care have already become financial objects. 

But we human beings don’t live in financial objects, but in homes, we don’t eat stock market indices, but bread, rice, fish, no matter how much the food industry wants to optimize profits with the complicity of our enslaved governments, at the cost of our health. Before we Europeans end up living in a financial object or eating ratings, why not consider joining Iceland? It would be better without a doubt. 

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, the two key factors in the increase of peace in Iceland were the decrease in the probability of violent protests and a reduction in the capacity and sophistication of the military. Iceland occupies the top spot in the world. In Europe, behind Iceland are Denmark, Austria and Finland. Some credit must be given to their respective investments into culture, it’s clear.

Nonetheless, the world at large did not become more peaceful throughout 2011. The world peace indicators again decreased for the third straight year. The conflicts of today are no longer wars between countries, now they are conflicts between citizens and their own governments and in the future this will only increase if the speculative rule persists, if our basic needs are continually turned into merchandise. An increase in the risk of terrorism as well as the problems in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and some European zones have provoked dramatic changes in the Global Peace ranking in which Iceland sits alone at the top.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX: ICELAND, THE MOST PEACEFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD


DISCOVER ICELAND


Saturday, 28 July 2012

THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COST OF SEISMIC DISASTERS IN ITALY OVER THE PAST 150 YEARS, A BOOK BY EMANUELA GUIDOBONI AND GIANLUCA VALENSISE

DAMAGES IN THE RICH HERITAGE OF THE MOST CULTURAL TOURISTIC COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

An amazing book by Emanuela Guidoboni e Gianluca Valensise:

Il peso economico e sociale dei disastri sismici in Italia negli ultimi 150 anni


With the hardness of a database and the subtlety of a historical study, are recounted the 34 seismic disasters that have marked the history of Italy in its first 150 years, from unification. A seismic disaster occurs on average every 4-5 years, with severe damage or destruction at 1,560 locations, 10 cities, including capitals. And in between, other 86 earthquakes of lower energy, but sometimes a little less destructive.


LA ROCCA (FINALE EMILIA, 2012)



An Italian story unusual and disconcerting, on which no one had yet submitted the bills. Unpredictable, destructive, expensive, seismic disasters continue to weigh on the economies and afflicted societies for decades, sometimes forever.

At any time has been, strong earthquakes have changed the lives of individuals  and families, changed social relations, rich heritages places demolished, damaged or reduced historic and modern buildings to rubble, modified forms of urban settlement networks changed, scoring sometimes ruins and leave the Italian landscape. Why so much damage? Who paid the higher cost?





The words by Emanuela Guidoboni:

"... The aim was to understand the seismic problem in our country This publication was made possible by the historical research developed for the Catalogue of Strong earthquakes in Italy from 462 BC up to 2010 (database now INGV). We have a disaster every 4-5 years, even with relatively low magnitude (5.5 to 5.8). We have tried to shed light on the causes: the character of the buildings (65% is before 1950), an extended presence of old and poor houses, lack of earthquake standards. But even when there were laws, weak institutional and political instability have underestimated the importance of applying seismic safety, though again and again emanating. Another important element, especially in the last 50 years, is the lack of information on seismic risk in the population..."



The book is organized by the Euro-Mediterranean documentation EXTREME EVENTS AND DISASTERS, in collaboration with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

THE COVER


The book show 258 pictures and 43 maps of the seismic effects strictly based on scientific data that are especially processed for this rigorous and brilliant work


DIANO MARINA LIGURIA, 1887
L'AQUILA, 2009



LIVE EARTHQUAKE IN EMILIA ROMAGNA (SKY TG24)

Monday, 16 July 2012

BASE ISOLATION IN ARCHITECTURE



Published in The 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, October 12-17, 2008, Beijing, China.

Adriana Guisasola

Specialist in Prevention, Planning and Overall Handling of Disaster Prone Areas. 
Specialist in Higher-Education. At Present, attending the Doctorate in Architecture. 
Professor, Dep. Structures - Faculty of Architecture, Urban Planning And Design - University of Mendoza. 
Email: maguisasola@yahoo.com.ar, Web: www.adrianaguisasola.com.ar 


ABSTRACT 

Mendoza is located on a highly seismic region of Argentina (South America), it is crucial to take into account such factor when initiating any architectural project in the area. 

The main purpose of this research is to deepen the understanding of several matters dealing with prevention of natural disasters which is regarded, at present, as an essential strategy for sustainable development. 

The secondary purpose of this study is to make known the variables that may be managed along the architectural design stages and affect the structural design. The variables incorporation at the early stages of the creative process makes it easier and improves the final architectural results. 

This research aims at contributing to the integration of architecture and engineering through the analysis of the architectural implications derived from the use of this technology. And it also endeavors to accumulate the knowledge necessary to develop a project using such technology from the very first stages. This study also attempts to prove that buildings can be more efficient, secure, functional and economical and that new seismic design alternatives can be achieved. 

The interdependence existing between architectural design and its context is the starting point to determine the architectural implications arising from the use of base isolation. In such context architectural variables such as morphology, functionality, aesthetics, economics, resistance, structural behaviour, materials, construction techniques and space-time interact and buildings must provide a proper response to earthquakes. 

KEYWORDS: architectural structural design, earthquake architecture, base isolation 


INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS 


The present research paper is a summary of a PhD Thesis in process. The Thesis director is José Antonio Inaudi, Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, and the Co-directors are Juan Carlos De La Llera, Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Agustín Reboredo, Engineer. Daniel Moisset de Espanes and Juan Jose Marino are consulting architects. 

It intends to be a sort of tip of an iceberg by triggering questions which, due to the complexity of the problem treated, must be approached by different sciences 

It also constitutes the next step after the research on THE STRUCTURE´S OF ARCHITECTURE submitted to the 14th WCEE 2008 in Beijing. Through it many natural limiting factors were solved by providing proper architectural answers. Base seismic isolation technology allows developing more advanced, audacious, safe and modern designs complying with the requirements of sustainable architecture. 

There exist a very close relationship between architecture and engineering and both of them must cooperate to transcend the bounds of architectural design in seismic regions. 


1. INTRODUCTION 


Among the several hazards that threaten man, natural disasters such as earthquakes are caused by uncontrollable factors. Consequently, earthquakes can not be avoided, but they surely can be prevented and their consequences diminished. Different preventing measures against earthquakes have been accounted for throughout history, although not all of them were equally effective in the light of present knowledge. Generally, they come up after a disaster of great proportions. 

The global incidence of earthquakes turns architecture into an essential tool to provide appropriate answers to this problem and lessen both human and material damages. 

Architecture and Earthquake Engineering share the building construction. Earthquake engineering provides with new seismic resistant elements which architecture must take into account to give better answers to this conditioning factor. This approach may then be defined as Earthquake Architecture. (Robert Reitherman 1985, Christopher Arnold 1996, Andrew Charlesson 2004). 


2. ANTECEDENTS 


Throughout the years, several attempts to withstand earthquakes’ strength have been carried out but, the battle has been uneven since earthquakes’ functioning mechanisms have been comprehended since the middle of the twentieth century and this fact has caused many victims and material damages. 

For example, the Imperial Hotel of Tokyo, built by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, used a device to withstand earthquakes: The hotel was built over a sand bed and when the 1923 earthquake battered Japan, it floated like a ship on this sand bed and resisted the movement. 

Another example is given by the Olive View Hospital in California; the building was conceived with the more advanced structural design available at the end of the sixties; however the 1971 earthquake showed that there were still structural matters to be taken care of. 

The case of the San Francisco City Hall in California is also worth-mentioning; it was build between 1904 and 1906. The 1906 earthquake damaged it considerably so it was demolished and built in another place making use of the more advanced knowledge of that time. The building resisted until it was seriously damaged by the Northridge earthquake. In order to preserve this monument, witness of the history of San Francisco, a structural rehabilitation was conducted using state-of-the-art knowledge: base isolation. The building is, at present, the largest isolated building on earth and the operational headquarters of the city in case of disasters. 

As time goes by, man seem to root architectural works deeper and deeper in the ground. Nowadays, there are two options available: to accept the potential damages level, or else to avoid damages by not laying the building’s foundation on solid ground but rather separating them through a transition structure. The buildings that take advantage of new technologies have applications which add a new dimension to architectural design. 

It is important that new buildings, located at earthquake-prone zones, are designed with state-of-the-art technology such as Base Isolation so as to solve the problems they face. 

Earthquake protection systems are used to reduce risks and preserve people, their property and other factors non-calculable in economic terms. This new technology influences the buildings features: the structures are not very slender; their proportions are not very large, etc. 

Architectural design and other interdisciplinary approaches will be taken into account in the present research. New technologies will provide ingenious solutions according to present context needs. 


3. DEVELOPMENT 


Base isolation is a step forward in earthquake engineering which reduces earthquakes effects on architectural works. However, architects do not deeply know the alternatives that this technology offers. It will not be possible to design using this technology from the very first stages of the architectural design until architecture and engineering begin working cooperatively. 

Architects must know these major advances in depth and include them as designing tools of a life-protecting system against earthquakes effects on their architectural works. 

This work attempts to identify the limits and possibilities imposed by architecture to the concept of base seismic isolation. It also aims at finding out how architecture interacts and deals with the limiting factors characteristic of seismic isolation. By the same token, it assesses the potential of new and less seismic-conditioned projects. 


3.1. Contextualizing the Problem 

The use of seismic base isolation reduces building damages considerably. This technology was firs developed in Japan and New Zealand, and then spread to the United States, China, Russia, Italy, Chile and other countries. In the Province of Mendoza there is a student’s dormitory built based on this technology. 

Architecture has incorporated this new damage reducing technology into its design stages. See Figure 1 and 2 



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. 

Therefore, architecture must incorporate these new technological alternatives into its design strategies in order to protect people and buildings from potential earthquakes. 


3.2. Conceptual framework 

The principles of seismic resistant structural design are fully developed and there is general consent about its importance among practitioners and the scientific and academic community. 



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. 

Architecture must get involved with technologies that control earthquake damages. And it must also play a major role in design, as well as in the architectural possibilities that may contribute to the integration of this method as a solution to the seismic problem. 

Architectural design based on new technologies has not been fully developed yet. Regulations refer to it only as construction details. It is then necessary to study how these new technologies affect the design and the ways to express them through architecture. 

This is a new concept of architecture, a new order, or perhaps, a different concept that describes the use of new elements and keeps pace with knowledge advances. 


3.3. The Architectural Design 


The architectural design brings many solutions to different problems architects have to deal with when creating an architectural work. Earthquakes are one of such problems. The earthquake resistant architectural design variable is then crucial and must be a part of the design’s conception. 

This paper will deal with the importance of knowing what constitutive elements of architecture change or suffer transformations when designing with new technologies. Such modifications or transformations are the implications and they will be approached by the structural dimension. For example, the use of reinforced concrete which revolutionized the building techniques of those days and helped reaching unexpected design development, buildings’ possibilities and heights, and longer clear spans. 

The case of study will be approached similarly, since through new base seismic isolation technology for high earthquake hazard risk regions, it will be possible to modify previous models for the structure located over the seismic devices, and it will also permit to explore new architectural design possibilities. By exceeding the limits imposed by traditional building structure design, it will be possible to study new architectural design alternatives more appropriate for the seismic limiting factor. 

The use of seismic base isolation has been widely accepted and embraced by the international scientific community. It has been employed throughout the seismic world mainly in buildings of great importance such as hospitals, temples, nuclear centrals, museums, airports, high complexity laboratories, valuable heritage buildings, houses, etc. Especial safety measures have to be taken to protect the content of such buildings in case of earthquake. 

Why do architects influence the building’s seismic response? and why are they a source of different interests for engineers? “Because architects conceive and control the building configuration.” (Arnold and Reitherman, 1987). 


3.4. Hypothesis Statement 


Hypothesis 1: The use of base seismic isolation technology from the architectural project’s conception gives rise to new possibilities which allow architects to overcome certain limitations that the seismic structural design imposes on architectural design. 

Hypothesis 2: Designs including the use of base seismic isolation since the project’s conception, improve the architectural performance of buildings using such technology. 


4. RESEARCH ADVANCES 


The combined use of variables entails interdependency between them in the architectural design in order to improve and fit in with the response of a given architectural work. When the work is set in a context and it is affected by external actions such as earthquakes, it must respond through its internal actions (architectural performance). The architectural performance can be defined as the functioning regarding the application of the criteria formed by the work’s architectural variables. 


4.1. Architectural Implications 


The interdependence between the architectural design and its context will be the starting point to establish the architectural implications derived from the use of seismic isolation. 

All the architectural variables involved in the present research will interact in this context and the building will provide the appropriate responses in the event of earthquakes. Such variables are: morphology, functionality, aesthetics, economy, safety, structural behaviour, materials, construction techniques, psychological aspects and space time. 

At present, the author of this research is developing the morphology variable and structural behaviour in her Doctoral Thesis. 


4.1.2. Morphology Variable 

The aspects affecting architectures’ structural behaviour and subjected to the morphological decisions taken by the designer will be analyzed. 

4.1.2.1. Resistant systems 

The behaviour of traditionally and base-isolated designed structural frames, structural partitions and diaphragms will be analyzed and compared. 

4.1.2.2. Architectural Configuration 

Dimensions, as well as Horizontal and Vertical Composition will be analyzed. (See figure 4) 



An analysis of common configuration experimenting problems in earthquakes related to the architectonic program such as soft story will be conducted (See figure 5).



4.1.2.3. Analysis of soft story’s structural behaviour 

The structural behaviours of the superstructure with inadequate configurations for seismic regions, adequate configuration for seismic regions and with adequate configurations for seismic regions with base isolation were analyzed (See figure 6).



4.1.2.4. Partial Conclusion 

The results obtained from the structural behaviours will be useful to answer the architectural questions necessary to achieve adequate designs including seismic isolation as a protection tool. 



5. CONCLUSIONS 


Architecture must provide a passive protection mean against seismic hazards. Architects must also know and include such advances and use them as life-saving design tools intended to reduce damages caused by earthquakes. 

All the efforts to bring architecture and art together will be unfruitful as long as technology continues to be left aside in the creative process of the architectural design. To know the relationship between structures and technological knowledge is essential to understand the world of architectural forms. 

Designing an architectural work which, far from damaging the environment or making it more vulnerable, preserves it, it make us believe that is possible to coexist with our planet and to find a path to a more promising future. 

Regarding the scope and complexity of current architecture, architects must incorporate the various scientific and technological advances, such as base isolation, and synthesize them in a creative, imaginative and pure manner through economics, sociology, aesthetics, engineering, technological advances and design. 


REFERENCES 

Tedeschi, E. (1978) Teoría de la Arquitectura, (Theory of Architecture) Ediciones Nueva Visión, Argentina 

Christopher, A. and Reitherman, R. (1987) Configuración y Diseño Sísmico de Edificios, (Building’s configuration and Seismic Design), Editorial Limusa, México 

Naheim, F. and Kelly, J.M. (1999). Design of Seismic Isolated Structures: from theory to practice, John Wiley & Sons, United States 

Dolce,M. and Martelli, A. and Panza, G. (2005) Proteggersi dal Terremoto: Le moderne tecnologie e metodologie e la nuova normative sismica, 21mo Secolo, Milano, Italia 

García, B. (2000) Earthquake Architecture: New Construction Techniques for Earthquake Prevention, Loft, Mexico 

Popovic Larsen, O. and Tyas, A. (2003) Conceptual Structural Design: Bridging the gap between architects and engineers, Thomas Telford Publishing, London, Great Britain 

Bozzo, L. and Barbat, A. (2000) Diseño Sismorresistente de edificios: técnicas convencionales y avanzadas, (Earthquake Resistant Building Design: Conventional and Advanced Techniques) Editorial Reverté S.A., Barcelona 

Higashino, M. and Okamoto, Editors, S. (2006) Response Control and Seismic Isolation of Buildings, Taylor & Francis, USA 

Parducci, A. Editor (2007) La Sfida dell´isolamento sismico, EdA Esempi di Architettura, Numero Speciale Giugno 2007, Il Prato, Lombardia, Italia