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How to protect European buildings of historical interest from seismic events

The University of Liege, through the department Structures, Geology, Environnement & Construction (ArGEnCo), is the partner of European network PROHITECH (Earthquake Protection of Historical Buildings by Reversible Mixed Technologies) registered within the 6th R&D Framework Research Programme of the European Commission.

Network PROHITECH will be due in Liege, April 26 and 27, its penultimate meeting, gathering the representatives of the 16 universities partners, coming from 12 countries, mainly of the south, members of the European Union (Italy, Greece, Portugal, Romania) or not (Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Liege is thus the only north-European university called to join the network because of its competences recognized in the field of the resistance of the buildings to the seisms.

The objective of this scientific network set up in 2004 is to develop original and innovating methods of protection against the seisms of buildings and monuments belonging to the historical inheritance of humanity, located in the Mediterranean area and Balkans (particularly exposed zones with the seismic risks), by means of durable and reversible processes.

As Pr Jean-Pierre Jaspart (University of Liege) explains it, “It is a question of proposing durable solutions which integrate various materials or techniques (“mixed”) but which can constantly be removed of buildings (“reversible”) in order to preserve the historical characteristics of them. Our goal is to guarantee the stability of the buildings but not to denature them. What we propose thus is not to be compared with restoration of building.”

In the network PROHITECH, University of Liege is more particularly in charge of the coordination of nine concrete cases of study of threatened buildings for which the solutions considered will cover the whole of the techniques and procedures identified by the members of the network in a catalogue of “good practices” for this kind of intervention. Among these buildings, one can quote the Parthenon in Athens, the royal Palate of Naples, galleries in Naples and Milan, catholic and orthodoxe churches in the north of Italy and in Macedonia, a palate in Istanbul,… “For each one of these buildings, the final engineering report will be complete, as if one were really ready to place order, Jean-Pierre Jaspart continues. Of course, our conclusions could also be exploited for the safeguard of any building of historical interest, including in zones fairly or slightly seismic.”

Didier Moreau | alfa
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