Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP), Departamento de Engenharia Civil (DEC)


Throughout the 20th century, the walls in the Azores evolved from stone masonry (exterior/interior) and plaster on timber framework (interior) to concrete block masonry, locally produced, made with water, cement and volcanic scoria – lapilli (commonly known as bagacina) and tuft. The use of bagacina as aggregate, due to its properties, makes a light-weight concrete. However, the existing block’s geometry did not consider local conditions, nor is its behavior adapted to the present demands.
These facts, along with the isolation of the Azores, have resulted in the building industry using much imported materials and accepting building solutions and products from elsewhere. Using local resources would benefit the islands.
In this paper, a new masonry unit has been developed, integrated into a masonry system to privide a building solution appropriate for the Azores. The system improves local masonry quality and versatility, optimizing material properties through the way it is shaped and assembled.
As a result, with the same average quantity of raw material, building efficiency is environmentally and functionally improved (for example, in a single leaf exterior wall, extra thermal insulation is unnecessary), providing not only a higher level of comfort and cost reduction, but also achieving a higher sustainability.

Key words
Masonry system, concrete blocks, bagacina, Azores