A study concerning the performance assessment and enhanced retrofit of public buildings originally designed without any anti-seismic provisions is presented herein. A representative structure belonging to this class was demonstratively examined, i.e., a school built in Italy in the early 1970s, before a coordinate national Seismic Standard was issued. The building is characterized by a mixed reinforced concrete (ground storey)–steel (first and second storey) frame skeleton. An extensive on-site experimental investigation was developed in the first step of the study, which helped identify the mechanical characteristics of the constituting materials, and re-draw the main structural details. Based on these data, and relevant updates of the finite element model of the structure, the seismic assessment analyses carried out in current conditions highlighted several performance deficiencies, in both the reinforced concrete and steel members. An advanced seismic retrofit hypothesis of the building was then designed, consisting of the installation of a set of dissipative braces incorporating fluid viscous dampers as protective devices. This solution makes it possible to attain an elastic structural response up to the maximum considered normative earthquake level, while at the same time causing more limited architectural intrusion and lower costs as compared to conventional rehabilitation strategies.
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