Emilie van Wijnbergen
Earthquake architecture – balancing conflicting objectives
The recent earthquakes in Groningen have shocked the community: earthquakes, a serious threat in the Netherlands? A predominant part of the building stock is built with unreinforced masonry, which performs poorly during earthquakes. The building community is challenged to develop a shock-proof approach and architectural language for new buildings. Earthquake engineering might seem to be a very technical subject; however these seismic events will strongly influence the architecture of the region.
Research showed that building objectives and design strategies (such as irregular plans) are often conflicting with structural earthquake design principles. In order to prevent subordinating aspects such as aesthetics and function, I have set up a design strategy (objective-conflict-solution) to make reasonable tradeoffs during design decisions. The research was used to make a design for the public interface for the Governmental Department for earthquakes. The design has resulted in an exciting building, made shockproof by all kinds of innovative earthquake principles.