Compiled by Savitha Hira
Photography: Margot Krasojević
Read Time: 3 mins
Margot Krasojević Architects’ ongoing dynamic seismic hotel in Napoli, Italy purports to minimize disaster during earthquakes…
Italy has a long history of earthquakes and of late, they have been more frequent. This one-storey hotel for Gao Investment in the western province near Naples is being designed to contain and reduce the building's destruction and fatality, when calamity strikes; its programmatic criteria involving the effects of earthquakes, tremors and dislocations in the immediate environment.
The hotel's plan consists of three separate elements, which move away from each other when tremors are recorded by the hotel's seismometers. Engineers have worked with MAEViz, DEEPSOIL, which investigates the ground tremor with soil layers within the design context and using MES software, the design is disbanded using simulations to understand the effects of dislocations in the landscape.
Lightweight materials are flexible during tremors, minimizing damage by reducing momentum. Therefore, the building elements are constructed from lightweight aluminium frame, annealed laminate glass panels and post-consumer recycled plastic panels, which are strong yet malleable; making it easy to move away from the neighbouring element and slide along the length of the seismic parallelogram frame that they rest on. Once evacuated, the fabricated panels fold with the frame as it rotates/moves with the tremor.
The entire scheme sits on a series of parallelogram frames acting as seismic dampers. This grid of seismic isolation rubber bearings are partly exposed foundations, deforming and dislocating to ride out the tremors; also, whilst reducing kinetic energy, the lightweight materials confine and reduce momentum. The interior platforms are directly attached to seismic dampers, which vibrate but displacement is at a minimum, helping with escape routes through the design.
Isolators, which are a stack of lead and rubber plates allow for greater deflection; the flexible joints absorb the external energy from an earthquake and dampen it reducing the amount of dislocation and damage to the aluminium frame and clad surfaces. The scheme is a shock absorber attaching itself to the landscape as the dampers lock down into the landscape upon the first recording of a seismic movement.
Anything above 5 on the Richter scale is treated as potentially fatal situation and the building responds. The architecture dislocates and breaks apart, reducing the impact of destruction.
Early earthquake warning signs include water tray reverberations, the trays positioned around the design acts as both a landscape feature and a tremor detection element, bird flight and the hotel aviary indicate an oncoming earthquake. This, along with seismology readings and GPS receivers attached to the seismic damper foundations, this grid of receivers detects an approaching tremor, when an unnatural displacement in the landscape occurs over a larger area, or in this case, the grounds of the hotel itself.
Consequently, the architecture is choreographed by the earthquake, responding to the movement and minimizing the impact of the kinetic energy. The building is aiming for a 2018 completion.
Margot Krasojević Architects’ design studios in London and Beijing are known for their academic, theoretical and practical design approach focussing on re-evaluating existing building typologies in light of environmental, social and technological change; and raising questions of appropriating the built environment and the ever-evolving role of architecture.
Project: New build Seismic loading inhabitable structures series
Ongoing project, research/ prototype seismic foundation frame
Material: Recycled plastic cladding panels from KLP®
Format: 120 x 60 cm
Thickness: 20 mm
Seismic dampers: VibraAbsorbers by AMC Mecanocaucho
Fixing system: Stainless steel in combination with galvanized and 3-times coated steel