In 1990, the Getty Conservation Institute initiated two projects to research and develop methods to provide seismic stabilization for historically and culturally significant buildings located in earthquake regions. The first, the Getty Seismic Adobe Project (GSAP), investigated alternatives to existing retrofitting methods. After studying historic adobe buildings, analyzing recent earthquake damage, and developing and evaluating new retrofitting techniques through numerous tests, GSAP came up with ways to provide seismic protection at a reasonable cost while substantially preserving the authenticity of historic adobes. For the most part, the methods are simple and inexpensive enough to be used in communities with limited resources, around the world, that rely on earth as a basic building material.

The second project—undertaken in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia—focused on the seismic retrofitting of Byzantine churches. An actual church was selected as a prototype and its dynamic response behavior was determined experimentally using a shaking table. A scale model of the church was subjected to several possible earthquake spectra until damage occurred. After being repaired and retrofitted, the model was shaken again. The retrofitting enabled the model to withstand a severe earthquake without significant structural damage. The methodology developed is generally applicable to similar structures throughout the Balkans, the eastern Mediterranean, and Central Asia.

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Getty Seismic Adobe Project


Related articles in Conservation, the GCI Newsletter

Related Scientific Research Abstracts

  • 3.5 Evaluation of Seismic Mitigation Measures for Art Objects
  • 3.8 Study for Seismic Strengthening, Conservation, and Restoration of Churches Dating from the Byzantine Period (Ninth to Fourteenth Century) in Macedonia
  • 3.9 Getty Seismic Strengthening of Adobe Project (GSAP)

Related Getty Publications

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Tolles, E. Leroy, Edna E. Kimbro, and William S. Ginell. Planning and Engineering Guidelines for the Seismic Retrofitting of Historic Adobe Structures. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2002. (154pp., PDF format, 4.3MB) A bound copy is available for purchase at the Getty Bookstore

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Tolles, E. Leroy, Edna E. Kimbro, and William S. Ginell. Guías de planeamiento e ingeniería para la estabilización sismorresistente de estructuras históricas de adobe. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2002. (Spanish version of the above) (160pp., PDF format, 4.8MB)

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Tolles, E. Leroy, Edna E. Kimbro, Frederick A. Webster, and William S. Ginell. Seismic Stabilization of Historic Adobe Structures: Final Report of the Getty Seismic Adobe Project. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2000. (174 pp., PDF format, 3.2MB) A bound copy is available for purchase at the Getty Bookstore

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Tolles, E. Leroy, Frederick A. Webster, Anthony Crosby, and Edna E. Kimbro. Survey of Damage to Historic Adobe Buildings after the January 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 1996. (171 pp., PDF format, 7.2MB)

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Last updated: November 2006

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