LIVE image


On March 27, a shake-table simulation of twice the ground acceleration of the '94 Northridge CA earthquake was run in the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation's Large Structures Laboratory at the University of Nevada on a full-scale model of a strawbale housing unit developed in the wake of the devastating 2005 Kashmir 7.6 magnitude quake that killed nearly 100,000 people and left over three million homeless in Pakistan. Although the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)-sponsored test was intended to be to failure, in the end the robust little straw house was still standing and structurally sound — check out the video footage below. The quake-resistant buildings designed by PAKSBAB (Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building) are intended to be affordable, energy efficient, and locally built with readily available materials. Bamboo rods and nylon fishing net act as the reinforcement and tie-down system; the netting is wrapped under a soil-cement-encased gravel-bag foundation (made with old vegetable sacks), up both sides of the load-bearing baled-straw wall, and attached to the wooden top plates. The wall-tall bamboo, which also engages both the foundation and the top plate, is attached upright in opposing pairs on either side of the wall at frequent spacings and 'sewn' together through the bales, providing flexible resistance to out-of-plane forces. The whole assembly is covered with earthen plaster. The roofing is light corrugated steel. The hand-made structural straw bales — there are no posts or other bearing members — are smaller than those produced by automatic balers, which are rare in developing countries. The plaster, as expected, experienced buckling and delamination, but there was no evidence of failure of the nylon net or bamboo. There are some similarities between this system and the one devised by the Getty Seismic Adobe Project. If you're into earthquake design (or just interested in watching buildings shake), check out the video there.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for BuildingGreen email updates

*

Comments

1 This is amazing information! posted by Daniel Sloan on 01/21/2010 at 06:34 am

This is amazing information!

2 Is there any information rega posted by Daniel Sloan on 03/09/2010 at 08:17 am

Is there any information regarding the magnitude earthquake that a wood-framed home can withstand? What were the homes in Pakistan built out of?


— Share This Posting!

Recent Discussions

posted by ccnyIP
on May 20, 2015

I Have been in construction for many years and am now finishing my degree in mechanical engineering. I am truly amazed at reviews of many things...

posted by pmelton
on Apr 30, 2015

Here's a quick explanation of what a hygrothermal...

posted by pmelton
on Apr 29, 2015

John, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. Based on my conversation with Peter Yost, our resident building scientist, it sounds like you've...

Recent Comments


The Building Envelope: Our Third Skin

Robert Riversong says, "I helped mix and install wood-chip clay-slip in a double-wall envelope, and it was done thoughtfully with a mixture of aggregate sizes, including..." More...

steven case says, "Hi Tristan I was wondering if you new or now of anyone that is living in a house of clay chip. I would be interested in speaking with them...." More...

Tristan Roberts says, "Hi Steven, the material you are referring to is usually called light clay, or sometimes Leichtlehm, from the German. It can be made with straw or..." More...

steven case says, "I just finished a class about clay and wood chip infill for walls have you ever done any testing or an article about them. All the oldest homes still..." More...


What Is a Hygrothermal Building Assessment?

Robert Riversong says, "As all water transport mechanisms and driving forces other than gravity are bi-directional (water is indifferent to which way it moves), there are..." More...