Characterization and Structural Rehabilitation of Ancient Masonry Buildings

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Materials, and Repair & Renovation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 22853

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CERIS, FCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 130 1169-0 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: ancient buildings; conservation and rehabilitation techniques; experimental analysis; building materials
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Dear Colleagues,

All over the world, there are countless ancient masonry buildings, and other structures, built by our ancestors, many hundreds and even thousands of years ago.

Many of these constructions, in particular the historic/classified buildings (e.g., monumental, imperial, or religious buildings), have undergone maintenance and conservation action over time, which has allowed them to survive in adequate habitability and safety conditions. However, many other buildings and masonry constructions built in urban and rural environments did not have the same interventions, and collapsed due to either lack of conservation or natural actions, such as earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides, or other man-made actions, e.g., wars and attacks.

The current generation of technicians and scientists has the duty, and interest, of preserving the important heritage of classified and unclassified buildings. Many authors have dedicated decades of study to these topics for the huge diversity of materials constituting the masonry. This Special Issue of Buildings aims to gather and disseminate research works related to experimental and/or numerical studies and case studies on the constructive and mechanical characterization of walls and foundations of ancient buildings, anomalies, inspection techniques and structural assessment, and rehabilitation and strengthening of ancient constructions.

Prof. Dr. Fernando F. S. Pinho
Prof. Dr. Humberto Varum
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • ancient buildings
  • characterization of walls and foundations
  • anomalies
  • inspection
  • structural rehabilitation
  • strengthening
  • experimental analysis
  • numerical modelling

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

28 pages, 8414 KiB  
Article
Preserving the Past: Investigating Zanzibar’s Ancient Construction Materials for Sustainable Heritage Conservation
by Bimkubwa Seif Ali, Juan Jose Castro, Shogo Omi and Karishma Nazimi
Buildings 2024, 14(7), 2129; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14072129 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 337
Abstract
The architectural treasures of Zanzibar’s Stone Town, echoing the footprints of ancient civilizations, face an imminent threat of heritage loss due to accelerated material degradation. This underscores the urgent need for an intrinsic examination of building material properties to enhance existing restoration guidelines [...] Read more.
The architectural treasures of Zanzibar’s Stone Town, echoing the footprints of ancient civilizations, face an imminent threat of heritage loss due to accelerated material degradation. This underscores the urgent need for an intrinsic examination of building material properties to enhance existing restoration guidelines and effectively safeguard the historical legacy. This study is the first significant step for the extensive procurement of samples to investigate the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of deteriorating coral stones, mortar, and wood material of Zanzibar’s Stone Town. The results indicate considerable water absorption and varying porosity and densities, highlighting the significant water retention and susceptibility of marine environmental factors. The compressive strength (CS) for coral stone, mortar, and wood falls under 7.6 MPa to 12.2 MPa, 0.5 to 0.9 MPa, and 52.9 to 69.3 MPa, revealing the heterogenous characteristics across the samples. The flexural strength of coral stone and wood was found to be from 2.0 MPa to 3.4 and 72.1 MPa to 98.6 MPa, indicating a high susceptibility to breakage and fracture. Meanwhile, Ultra Pulse Velocity (UPV) averages 1668 to 2070 m/s, revealing void ranges in building materials. Chemical analysis, including X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF), demonstrates higher CaO content in coral stone and mortar, with the predominant mineral aragonite indicating vulnerability to rapid chemical attacks. These results can significantly contribute to future modifications and improvements in restoration guidelines by facilitating the identification and utilization of appropriate materials’ properties. This ensures a high level of compatibility and promotes the sustainable conservation of Stone Town’s architectural heritage. Full article
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13 pages, 8481 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Analysis of Comprehensive Similarity in Restoration of Ancient Building Walls Using Hue–Saturation–Value Color Space and Circular Local Binary Pattern
by Chun Gong, Shuisheng Zeng and Dunwen Liu
Buildings 2024, 14(5), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14051478 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Evaluating the effects of wall restoration on ancient buildings has been a difficult task, and it is important that the overall appearance of the restored walls of ancient buildings is similar, harmonious, and uniform. This paper used a hue–saturation–value (HSV) color space and [...] Read more.
Evaluating the effects of wall restoration on ancient buildings has been a difficult task, and it is important that the overall appearance of the restored walls of ancient buildings is similar, harmonious, and uniform. This paper used a hue–saturation–value (HSV) color space and Circular Local Binary Pattern (CLBP) to analyze the comprehensive similarity between a restored wall and the original walls in Qi Li Ancient Town. The results show that the values of the comprehensive similarity calculation of ancient buildings based on the color and texture were consistent with the actual situation. The method is suitable for evaluating the degree of matching between wall repair materials and the appearance of the original wall materials of ancient buildings, and it can also be used to assess the comprehensive similarity between the repair materials and the original building walls before carrying out the wall repair in order to select more suitable materials for wall repair and achieve the best repair effect. And it is flexible and objective compared to human judgement. Through the accurate restoration of ancient buildings, not only can we protect cultural heritage and continue the historical lineage, we can also enhance the aesthetic value of buildings and meet people’s needs for historical and cultural tracing. Full article
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21 pages, 4853 KiB  
Article
An Analysis of the Planar Vault under the Choir Loft of the Monastery of El Escorial
by Rubén Rodríguez Elizalde
Buildings 2024, 14(4), 1108; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14041108 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Arches and vaults are typical elements of ancient buildings. They are formed by voussoirs that resist the pressure they receive and transmit them through compression forces. The transmission of these forces justifies their curved shape. For this reason, arches and vaults are omnipresent [...] Read more.
Arches and vaults are typical elements of ancient buildings. They are formed by voussoirs that resist the pressure they receive and transmit them through compression forces. The transmission of these forces justifies their curved shape. For this reason, arches and vaults are omnipresent elements in ancient constructions, all of them masonry structures. However, when visitors enter the Basilica of the Monastery of El Escorial, they find a narthex with a flat or planar vault. This vault is located under the floor of the choir loft. Its geometric characteristics and its shape, with no curvature, make it an architectural anomaly and a brilliant solution within masonry structures. Therefore, this article tries to analyse the construction process and structural behaviour of this vault, to understand its operation and how it remains standing five hundred years after its construction. Full article
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23 pages, 15208 KiB  
Article
Exploration and Characterization of Dynamic Properties for Cultural Heritage Conservation: A Case Study for Historical Stone Masonry Buildings in Zanzibar
by Bimkubwa Seif Ali, Juan Jose Castro, Shogo Omi and Karishma Nazimi
Buildings 2024, 14(4), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14040981 - 2 Apr 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Ancient civilizations have imprinted their legacy on Zanzibar Stone Town through the construction of revered stone masonry buildings, which are experiencing rapid deterioration due to severe ambient environmental impacts. In response to these challenges, this study presents a comprehensive field exploration through the [...] Read more.
Ancient civilizations have imprinted their legacy on Zanzibar Stone Town through the construction of revered stone masonry buildings, which are experiencing rapid deterioration due to severe ambient environmental impacts. In response to these challenges, this study presents a comprehensive field exploration through the ambient vibration test (AVT) and numerical prediction of historical stone masonry buildings in Zanzibar Stone Town to analyze the dynamic characteristics. The ambient vibration test (AVT) reveals structural dynamic properties in terms of peak resonance frequencies (fr(avg)), mode shape, and damping ratio, in conjunction with the development of correlation with the geometric parameters of the building. The results reveal fr(avg) ranges between 2.8 and 5.3 Hz for investigated structures, non-uniform deformed mode shapes, and damping ratio ranges between 1.35% and 4.45% at various orientation axes of the understudy buildings. However, the relationship between natural frequencies indicates a higher association with the geometrical parameters of the building, yielding a correlation coefficient (R2) between 0.85 and 0.99. Moreover, the numerical prediction via eigenvalue analysis (EVA) yields a considerable association with the investigated data, quantified by root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE) ranged between 0.29 and 0.3, with Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) and R2 between 0.81 and 0.99, respectively. Furthermore, conservation work guidelines were also developed to assist the structural engineer and conservationist in adopting targeted conservation strategies for the efficient preservation of the historical integrity in Stone Town. Full article
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43 pages, 21112 KiB  
Article
Seismic Performance Evaluation and Comparative Study of Reinforced Concrete Building on a Sloped Terrain with Regular Building by Considering the Effect of URM Infill Walls
by Bush Rc, Varsha Rani, Mohamed F. Suleiman, Bapugouda B. Biradar, Rohit Vyas, Afaq Ahmad and Anoop I. Shirkol
Buildings 2024, 14(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14010033 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
This paper focuses on the seismic vulnerabilities of multi-storey buildings in hilly regions like Sikkim and Uttarakhand, where rapid construction is driven by population growth and tourism. The study particularly evaluates step-back buildings on hilly slopes, comparing their vulnerability to standard buildings on [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the seismic vulnerabilities of multi-storey buildings in hilly regions like Sikkim and Uttarakhand, where rapid construction is driven by population growth and tourism. The study particularly evaluates step-back buildings on hilly slopes, comparing their vulnerability to standard buildings on flat terrain. Using non-linear analysis to assess structural aspects like displacement and storey drift ratio, the research examines the performance of these buildings in both uphill and downhill orientations against typical three-storey and six-storey structures, respectively. The findings indicate that step-back buildings, especially those without infill walls, are more susceptible to seismic damage. For instance, on the uphill side, a step-back building shows a mean drift ratio 15.11% greater in the X direction and 4.57% greater in the Y direction compared to a three-storey regular building (3SR). This vulnerability is exacerbated when infill walls are absent, with mean drift ratios in step-back buildings being 74.75% and 33% higher in the X and Y directions, respectively. Moreover, at a seismic acceleration of 0.36 g, the mean displacement of a step-back building is 83% greater in the X direction and 51% greater in the Y direction than those with infill walls (SBIN), underscoring the significant role of infill walls in enhancing earthquake resilience. The study also highlights that short columns in step-back buildings are particularly prone to severe damage, especially just above the uppermost foundation level. While infill walls offer substantial mitigation of damage at the Design Basis Earthquake (DBE) level, at the Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE) level, step-back buildings still endure severe damage compared to regular buildings with infill walls. Consequently, the research establishes that step-back buildings demonstrate greater vulnerability at DBE levels without infill walls and are more susceptible to damage than flat terrain buildings at MCE levels, emphasizing the need for careful design and reinforcement strategies in earthquake-prone hilly areas. Full article
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27 pages, 4483 KiB  
Article
Numerical Evaluation of Transverse Steel Connector Strengthening Effect on the Behavior of Rubble Stone Masonry Walls under Compression Using a Particle Model
by Ildi Cismaşiu, Nuno Monteiro Azevedo and Fernando F. S. Pinho
Buildings 2023, 13(4), 987; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13040987 - 8 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1025
Abstract
The structural rehabilitation of historic/traditional rubble masonry wall constructions requires consolidation and retrofitting solutions to be employed in order to withstand dynamic loads, high vertical loads, and differential settlements. One of these strengthening techniques is based on the use of steel bar connectors [...] Read more.
The structural rehabilitation of historic/traditional rubble masonry wall constructions requires consolidation and retrofitting solutions to be employed in order to withstand dynamic loads, high vertical loads, and differential settlements. One of these strengthening techniques is based on the use of steel bar connectors perpendicular to the wall, considered individually or integrated into more complex strengthening techniques. The aim of this study is to evaluate numerically the strengthening effect of transverse steel connectors on rubble masonry walls. With this purpose, a 2D particle-reinforced model (2D-PMR) was devised and applied to model uniaxial compression tests. The results presented show that predictions calculated using the proposed 2D-PMR model are very close to known experimental results, particularly in the corresponding failure modes, the increase of the maximum uniaxial compression value, and ductility. Parametric studies are also conducted by varying the diameter of the steel bars and the level of strengthening to assess the influence of the bar-bond effect and lateral plates. The presented parametric numerical studies show that (i) a two-level strengthening solution guarantees a similar response to the three-level strengthening solution adopted in the experiments; (ii) it is not relevant to apply a grout injection during the application process of the steel connectors if lateral plates are adopted; and (iii) the 2D-PMR model can be used in the definition of the steel bar diameter and properties; as shown, a smaller (8 mm) bar diameter predicts a similar strengthening effect to the (12 mm) bar size adopted in the experiments. Given the performance of the proposed 2D-PMR model, further work is underway that will allow the 2D-PMR model to numerically assess other reinforcement techniques, namely, reinforced micro-concrete layers and textile reinforced mortar. Full article
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13 pages, 4568 KiB  
Article
Implementing Open-Source Information Systems for Assessing and Managing the Seismic Vulnerability of Historical Constructions
by Rafael Ramírez Eudave, Daniel Rodrigues, Tiago Miguel Ferreira and Romeu Vicente
Buildings 2023, 13(2), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13020540 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1679
Abstract
The characterisation of the seismic vulnerability of historical constructions represents a complex problem in which the typological variability, the difficulty of performing reliable large-scale assessments and dealing with a large database all play a role. Nevertheless, reducing the uncertainty regarding the structural vulnerability [...] Read more.
The characterisation of the seismic vulnerability of historical constructions represents a complex problem in which the typological variability, the difficulty of performing reliable large-scale assessments and dealing with a large database all play a role. Nevertheless, reducing the uncertainty regarding the structural vulnerability of the existing building stock (mostly for small and/or isolated human settlements) is key for risk assessment and management. The present work proposes a novel approach based on the integration of a series of open-source tools for assembling a vulnerability-oriented database that is linked to a series of external services for increasing its capabilities. The database was implemented in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment and contains the survey of a seismic vulnerability index for masonry constructions based on an adapted version of the GNDT-II approach. A customised Python-based software for reading, managing and editing the database is herein presented. This program allows the execution of the most typical operations with no assistance from the GIS environment, facilitating user interaction. Furthermore, the calculations regarding the vulnerability index and levels of damage have been implemented in this program. Alternatives for distributing the database are implemented and discussed, such as cloud-based distribution and the use of the Transactional Web Feature Service (WFS-T) protocol for its virtual publishing. The entire framework herein presented is a replicable and feasible workflow that can be set even with reduced infrastructure, allowing a progressive enlargement. Full article
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20 pages, 6513 KiB  
Article
Prediction of Rubble-Stone Masonry Walls Response under Axial Compression Using 2D Particle Modelling
by Nuno Monteiro Azevedo, Fernando F. S. Pinho, Ildi Cismaşiu and Murilo Souza
Buildings 2022, 12(8), 1283; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081283 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1815
Abstract
To predict the structural behaviour of ancient stone masonry walls is still a challenging task due to their strong heterogeneity. A rubble-stone masonry modeling methodology using a 2D particle model (2D-PM), based on the discrete element method is proposed given its ability to [...] Read more.
To predict the structural behaviour of ancient stone masonry walls is still a challenging task due to their strong heterogeneity. A rubble-stone masonry modeling methodology using a 2D particle model (2D-PM), based on the discrete element method is proposed given its ability to predict crack propagation by taking directly into account the material structure at the grain scale. Rubble-stone (ancient) masonry walls tested experimentally under uniaxial compression loading conditions are numerically evaluated. The stone masonry numerical models are generated from a close mapping process of the stone units and of the mortar surfaces. A calibration procedure for the stone-stone and mortar-mortar contacts based on experimental data is presented. The numerical studies show that the 2D-PM wall models can predict the formation and propagation of cracks, the initial stiffness and the maximum load obtained experimentally in traditional stone masonry walls. To reduce the simulation times, it is shown that the wall lateral numerical model adopting a coarser mortar discretization is a viable option for these walls. The mortar behaviour under compression with lateral confinement is identified as an important micro-parameter, that influences the peak strength and the ductility of rubble-masonry walls under uniaxial loading. Full article
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20 pages, 9549 KiB  
Article
Simulation Analysis of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda Structure Using a Shape Memory Alloy-Suspension Pendulum Damping System (SMA-SPDS)
by Tao Yang, Shuailei Liu, Shengyuan Xiong, Yang Liu, Bo Liu and Binbin Li
Buildings 2022, 12(5), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12050686 - 20 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2380
Abstract
To reduce the effects of earthquakes on the ancient Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a shape memory alloy-suspension pendulum damping system (SMA-SPDS) is developed by combining superelastic SMAs with damping pendulum theory. A MATLAB/Simulink simulation model of the SMA-SPDS is established and tested on [...] Read more.
To reduce the effects of earthquakes on the ancient Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a shape memory alloy-suspension pendulum damping system (SMA-SPDS) is developed by combining superelastic SMAs with damping pendulum theory. A MATLAB/Simulink simulation model of the SMA-SPDS is established and tested on a 1:10 scale model of the Pagoda. After verifying and comparing the simulation data with experimental results, a shock absorption analysis is performed on the prototype Pagoda. The optimum engineering design for the prototype structure of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda using SMA-SPDS for shock absorption protection in the future is put forward. The results show that the performance of the SMA-SPDS system is stable, and it can improve the integrity of the original structure of the Pagoda for better performance during earthquakes. In addition, with an increment in seismic intensity, the SMA-SPDS shows an apparent controlling effect. The Simulink simulation results of the model structure of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda are in good agreement with the test results. The Simulink simulation method can simulate the seismic response of the model structure of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda well, with and without SMA-SPDS, to obtain a more real damping effect of setting SMA-SPDS on the prototype structure; the engineering optimization of the location, quantity, and system performance parameters of SMA-SPDS in the prototype structure of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda has a remarkable effect, which can make the damping effect of SMA-SPDS reach more than 43% floor. Full article
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11 pages, 3994 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study on the Compressive Behaviors of Brick Masonry Strengthened with Modified Oyster Shell Ash Mortar
by Zhouyi Chen, Wenyuan Chen, Chenglin Mai, Jianguang Shi, Yiren Xie and Hongmei Hu
Buildings 2021, 11(7), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11070266 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2831
Abstract
Masonry bricks were widely used in construction of the walls in most of Chinese historical buildings. The low strength of lime–clay mortar used in existing historical brick masonry walls has usually led to poor performance such as cracking and collapse during earthquakes. As [...] Read more.
Masonry bricks were widely used in construction of the walls in most of Chinese historical buildings. The low strength of lime–clay mortar used in existing historical brick masonry walls has usually led to poor performance such as cracking and collapse during earthquakes. As the composition of modified oyster shell ash mortar (MOSA mortar) with higher strength is similar to that of lime–clay mortar, it can be used to partially replace original lime–clay mortar for historical brick masonry buildings in order to improve their seismic performance. Previous research has proven that this strengthening method for brick masonry is effective in improving shear strength. In this paper, we present further experimental research regarding the compressive behaviors of brick masonry strengthened by replacing mortar with a MOSA mortar. The test results showed that the compressive strength of brick masonry specimens strengthened by the proposed method meets the design requirements. The formula for calculating compressive strength for brick masonry strengthened by replacing mortar was obtained by fitting the test results. The calculated values were consistent with the tested ones. In addition, the stress–strain relationship of tested specimens under axial compression was simulated using the parabolic model. Full article
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28 pages, 15006 KiB  
Article
Masonry Dome Behavior under Gravity Loads Based on the Support Condition by Considering Variable Curves and Thicknesses
by Asem Sharbaf, Mohammadreza Bemanian, Khosro Daneshjoo and Hamzeh Shakib
Buildings 2021, 11(6), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11060241 - 4 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 7604
Abstract
It is necessary to recognize masonry domes’ behavior under gravity loads in order to strengthen, restore, and conserve them. The neutral hoop plays a crucial role in identifying the masonry dome’s behavior to distinguish between its tensile and compressive regions. When it comes [...] Read more.
It is necessary to recognize masonry domes’ behavior under gravity loads in order to strengthen, restore, and conserve them. The neutral hoop plays a crucial role in identifying the masonry dome’s behavior to distinguish between its tensile and compressive regions. When it comes to determining the neutral hoop position in a dome with the same brick material, in addition to determining the dome’s curve and thickness, the support condition located on the boundary line is a significant parameter that has received less attention in the past. Therefore, this research aims to comprehensively define masonry dome behaviors based on the support condition’s effect on the masonry dome’s behavior, in addition to thickness and curve parameters, by determining neutral hoop(s). The method is a graphical and numerical analysis to define the sign-changing positioning in the first principal stress (hoop stress), based on the shell theory and extracted from a finite element method (FEM) Karamba3D analysis of a macro-model. The case studies are in four types of supports: condition fixed, free in the X- and Y-axes, free in all axes (domes placed on a drum), and free in all axes (domes placed on a pendentive and a drum). For each support condition, twelve curves and four varied thicknesses for each curve are considered. Results based on the dome’s variables show that, in general, four types of masonry domes behavior can be identified: single-masonry dome behavior with no neutral hoop; double-masonry dome behavior where all hoops are compressive with a single neutral hoop; double-masonry dome behavior where hoops are compressive and tensile with a single neutral hoop; and treble-masonry dome behavior with double neutral hoops. Full article
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