Emergency Actions and Definitive Intervention Criteria for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage Constructions subjected to Seismic Actions - Abruzzo 2009Modena, C., Silva, B., Bettiol, G., Casarin, F., da Porto, F. (2010). Congresso Património 2010. Porto, Portugal.

The architectural heritage was seriously affected by the April 6th 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region, especially considering the effects on a city with the size and with historical and strategic importance as a capital of a region, such as L’Aquila. The emergency activities that were carried out immediately after the earthquake, to protect the existing Cultural Heritage (C.H.) structures, were conducted on two parallel levels: (i) damage surveys and design and (ii) implementation of temporary safety measures. The overall organization was centralized in the structure “Protection of Cultural Heritage” at Di.Coma.C., managed by the Civil Protection Department. This allowed the cooperation among different involved subjects (Ministry of Cultural Heritage officers, experts on structural engineering from Universities and Fire Brigade teams), with their own specific knowledge. Keystone of the operating process was the standardization of the damage survey and of its immediate and correct interpretation, through dedicated survey forms for churches and palaces, developed by the G.La.Be.C. (Working group for the protection of C.H. from natural risks). The experience in the field of temporary safety measures was extremely interesting: ideas for engineering the process were developed, in cooperation with the work of the fire brigade men, which are highly experienced technicians in the “emergency” field.
After the emergency period, it’s necessary to pass to the rehabilitation phase, this process will, among many other activities, also involve the seismic upgrade of the C.H. structures, in order to minimize damage in case other equally devastating earthquakes. As so, some “conservative” intervention criteria, capable of seismically upgrade this type of constructions and ensuring acceptable structural safety conditions, under seismic and static loads, are presented. Special attention was paid to the possibilities offered by the traditional solutions and to their possible combinations with innovative ones.
These intervention criteria were developed based on the University of Padua (UNIPD) research experience in similar seismic events, as the observation of the damages resulting from this type of event are essential for: (i) the definition of new interpretative models, adjusted on the effective damage patterns experienced by the structures, and (ii) for the validation (or rejection) of intervention techniques that demonstrated different performances during seismic events; which will aid on the development of new intervention criteria.
As the presented intervention criteria will be very useful on the seismic improvement of the C. H. structures in Abruzzo, the 2009 seismic event in this region will certainly provide new and important knowledge in this area, as the number of affected structures, with previous intervention, is very high.

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