Unreinforced masonry buildings prevail in many old historical centres and urban areas worldwide. These structures may present inadequate seismic performance because they were often designed without considering any seismic resistance requirements. Therefore, they may be highly vulnerable and susceptible to damage caused by earthquakes, even of low intensity. This work investigates the seismic vulnerability of typical unreinforced masonry buildings situated in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain. Most of the buildings of the district were designed only for vertical static loads with slender load-bearing masonry walls and flexible diaphragms. A typical characteristic is the presence of openings with considerable size on the facades. The identification of the main parameters affecting the structural behaviour under lateral loading is necessary to evaluate the seismic vulnerability. As a first step, a building taxonomy for the Eixample district has been prepared in order to classify the different building typologies by taking into account the influence of the structural features in the overall response. This typology classification serves two aims. The first aim is to empirically evaluate the vulnerability of each category. The second one is to provide the basis for creating a numerical model of a representative building and analyse its seismic performance. The main objective of this paper is to assess the seismic behaviour of a typical unreinforced masonry structure by means of nonlinear static analysis. For this purpose, a three-dimensional Finite Element model of a representative building has been prepared. Pushover analyses have been performed in two directions (parallel and perpendicular to the façades) aiming to identify the typical failure mechanisms and the seismic capacity. The performance of the representative building typology, with its typical heterogeneities and irregularities, is compared with that of a reference regular unreinforced masonry structure. Additionally, a parametric analysis is carried out to evaluate the different seismic response by adding more storeys in height. This work is the basis for future analyses devoted to large scale seismic vulnerability assessment of the most representative building typologies of the Eixample district.
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