Preserve and Protect

by Loring A. Wyllie, Jr., Sr. Principal; H.J. Degenkolb Associates, 350 Sansome St. Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94104-1394,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 2, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


Historic and landmark structures constructed of unreinforced masonry and stone are among the most vulnerable to strong ground shaking and are often subject to possible collapse. For the sake of public safety as well as to preserve an important part of our historic heritage for future generations, seismic strengthening of these buildings is often desirable in regions of high or moderate seismicity to increase their resistance to lateral forces. Achieving life safety and performance goals while minimizing structural impacts presents a special challenge to engineers, who must balance historic preservation principles with seismic safety. This requires careful evaluation of alternatives and acceptance of modifications that improve seismic performance without unnecessarily compromising the structure's appearance and historic fabric. Three representative projects in California are described: the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Memorial Church at Stanford University, and the San Jose Art Museum.

Subject Headings: Historic preservation | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Historic buildings | Public health and safety | Earthquake resistant structures | Structural safety | Historic sites | California | United States

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