In this paper, remote and in situ techniques to estimate the dynamic response of a building to ambient vibration are reported: data acquired through a real-aperture radar (RAR) interferometer and conventional accelerometers are analyzed. A five-story reinforced concrete housing building, which was damaged during the May 11th 2011 Lorca (Spain) earthquake, is used as a case study. The building was monitored using both types of instruments. The dynamic properties of the building are estimated first taking acceleration measurements using a set of 10 high-precision accelerometers installed on the roof of the building. Further, the displacement–time histories, recorded with the RAR device pointing to a corner of the building, are analyzed. Then, the ability and shortcomings of RAR measurements to deal with the fundamental frequencies of vibration of the structure are investigated. The advantages and limitations of from-inside (accelerometric) and from-outside (RAR) measurements are highlighted and discussed. A relevant conclusion is that, after strong earthquakes, RAR may be an interesting and useful tool, as it allows surveying the structural response of mid-rise buildings remotely, without the need to enter the structures, which may be dangerous for inspectors or technicians in cases of severely damaged buildings. Given that the instrumented building suffered significant damage, the ability of these kinds of measurements to detect damage is also discussed.
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