A century ago, people built huge structures in what were considered the most beautiful places in the world.
But it wasn’t always so.
These buildings fell, either accidentally or deliberately, due to their design, said architect David J. Cawley, who is professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Virginia.
Building codes and environmental regulations were then very different, so the buildings that fell were typically built by people who had not even completed high school.
Cauley and his colleagues examined the history of buildings across the globe and compared how buildings fell and how they survived.
They found that buildings that have fallen or are in danger of falling, such as bridges, were often designed to withstand earthquakes, not to withstand the force of an earthquake.
This is known as the design of resistance, or resistance to collapse.
The more the building resists, the more energy it takes to fall, Cauly said.
Buildings that are designed to resist earthquake forces are more likely to survive, he said.
Building design is not always the best way to design buildings, however, and there are other things to consider, Cawleys work showed.
Buildings can collapse when they become too large.
This happens when a building’s foundation collapses under a building.
A building’s structural strength depends on its load-bearing capacity, or how much it can withstand if it were to collapse, Cootley said.
This can vary by structure type, from small, horizontal buildings with a low structural strength to taller, sloped, vertical buildings.
“We found that the building design for a particular building had an impact on its ability to survive an earthquake,” Cootleys research showed.
The researchers also found that certain building materials such as stone, concrete, wood, and aluminum were more resistant to earthquake forces than others.
These materials are also often used in structures that fall, like bridges and dams.
Building materials that have the greatest strength, such that they can withstand a greater amount of force than the rest, were called resistance materials, the researchers found.
“That was really fascinating,” CawLEY said.
“This is where the research began.”
The research is published in the journal Earth System Dynamics.
Cawley is a professor emerita of architecture, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of the Center for Architecture and Urban Research at the university.
His research is centered on buildings, and his study is part of a larger project, the UVA School of Architecture and Planning, that focuses on how architecture impacts the climate and health of our planet.
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