Architecture and earthquakes | The Manila Times

IN a country like the Philippines, you can expect earthquakes to occur frequently. This is because the country is located in what is known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire” or an “Earthquake Belt”. Usually, earthquakes that occur here are very strong in intensity and magnitude, which can lead to destruction of property and loss of life.

The Bonifacio Global City buildings are examples of such structures that are constructed in accordance with the National Structural Code of the Philippines, which also takes into account earthquakes during the design and construction phase.

With this as a given, the people of the Philippines have learned to live with earthquakes and this is reflected in the construction of houses and other structures.

Italian architect Romolo Nati, who is also the managing director of Italpinas Development Corp., said that “structures here in the Philippines are generally well-made, following good construction methodology and complying with local building regulations” .

During the design and construction phase, architects are responsible for site analysis, considering various factors such as the site where a structure will be built and the terrain. For the building part, a professional architect turned to the structural engineer.

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Architect Oliver Sia said that taking earthquakes into account “is the job of the structural engineer. He does the calculations based on the National Structural Code of the Philippines.”

While architects are equipped to check the circulatory and functional flows of the structure against others, they work closely with structural engineers in building the structures to make them earthquake resistant.

Sia said structural engineers are equipped with data on how to calculate the size of columns, beams and other structural parts based on the load a building must bear.

“All our plans have to coincide with each other. The architect’s job is to check if there is a conflict with the data provided by the team members,” he said.

Nati provided some examples – local structures are often built of reinforced concrete where the steel bars represent the flexible component, while the cement responds to compression or primarily bears the weight.

There are other features such as basic insulating structures, lightweight building materials, reinforced foundations and shock absorbers which are incorporated to make the structures resistant to earthquakes, especially high-rise buildings. The Taipei 101 and the Tokyo Skytree are examples of structures that feature the latter, which allows them to withstand earthquakes.

“During an earthquake, a structure typically swings or swings back and forth like a pendulum. Sometimes a vertical oscillation also occurs. Well-designed and well-built structures must be flexible enough to move in the so-called elastic range,” Nati said. .

Buildings that are not built according to the laws in force suffer the consequences of a collapse during an earthquake like the one that recently struck northern Luzon.  PHOTO BY EUGENE CHUA

Buildings that are not built according to the laws in force suffer the consequences of a collapse during an earthquake like the one that recently struck northern Luzon. PHOTO BY EUGENE CHUA

Although architects are competent enough in the design of a building and usually lead the project, structural engineers contribute by “refining” the design and adding more detail while following the lead of the architect.

“But, of course, if the architect’s design is impossible, we adjust and revise if the owner opts for something impractical. The structural engineer will advise the architect where it is ideal to add a column, and we refer back to the owner,” says Sia.

Nati adds that the design is not the same everywhere. It depends on the location as each is assigned a designated category based on their susceptibility to earthquakes. Each category has its own construction requirements to guide developers, architects and engineers.

“For example, a category 1 area will require a different set of requirements than a category 5 area. The builder must comply with the requirements and meet certain standards for the particular area where the structure will be built,” he said. -he declares.

Architect Benjamin Panganiban, former national chairman of the United Architects of the Philippines, said property owners need to know where they want their structures built, especially in earthquake-prone areas.

“If they insist on choosing these locations, then the applicable technology must be applied in the construction in such a way as to adapt to this environment and these conditions. In short, one must move to another location or spend more on a technology higher,” he said. .

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