1) PhD Student, University of Minho, Department of Civil Engineering, E-mail: javier.ortega@civil.uminho.pt

2) Professor, University of Minho, Department of Civil Engineering, E-mail: graca@civil.uminho.pt

3) Professor, Escola Superior Gallaecia, CI-ESG Research Centre, E-mail: marianacorreia@esg.pt


Specific architectural elements can be identified in vernacular constructions located in regions frequently exposed to earthquakes. Such elements are the result of a seismic culture which has been empirically developed during centuries so that the vulnerability of the buildings is reduced. This research is based on the fact that vernacular architecture may bear important lessons on hazard mitigation. Traditional earthquake resistant technologies can be successfully applied to preserve and retrofit surviving examples without prejudice for its identity. Few papers have focused on strengthening solutions emerging from vernacular architectural heritage.

Research is particularly focused on case studies in Portugal where traces of Local Seismic Culture have been identified and documented through direct visual inspection, published information and local narratives. The main goal of this study is the identification and understanding of traditional construction solutions and detailing that, in many cases, have shown to improve the seismic performance of vernacular constructions.


Keywords: Seismic strengthening, vernacular architecture, traditional construction, Local Seismic Culture