Journal of Architectural Heritage
Nuria Chiara Palazzi, Luisa Rovero, Cristián Sandoval
The 2010 Maule Chile earthquake (Mw 8.8) caused extensive structural damage to the built heritage. In particular, the poor seismic performance of a set of unreinforced masonry (URM) churches highlighted the need to implement protective and safety strategies in order to preserve these buildings which exhibit unique constructive and typological features, as a result of a combination of Chilean and European construction cultures.
The peculiarity of this heritage and the high seismic hazard of Chilean territory have motivated the present study which aims to apply systematic procedures to assess the seismic vulnerability of these buildings. This article is of archival nature and presents a complete database generated from the geometrical, constructive, and structural characteristics of a representative stock of 106 churches located in central Chile, with the goal of proposing fragility curves to be used in seismic risk assessment. Considering variables related with geometrical, architectonic, and stylistic features, as well as damage levels for the 2010 Maule earthquake, this church sample is classified into three homogenous groups: colonial, neo-classic, and neo-gothic. Moreover, a preliminary qualitative assessment of the seismic capacity of these structures is provided using a survey and analysis of geometric indices for each of the three selected groups.
KEYWORDS: Chilean architectural heritage, damage level, geometrical index, seismic vulnerability assessment, unreinforced masonry churches