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.

Full document

The PDF file did not load properly or your web browser does not support viewing PDF files. Download directly to your device: Download PDF document


[1] Pelà, L. New Trends and Challenges in Large-Scale and Urban Assessment of Seismic Risk in Historical Centres. Int. J. Archit. Herit. (2018) 12:1051-1054.

[2] Cara, S., Aprile, A., Pelà, L. and Roca, P. Seismic Risk Assessment and Mitigation at Emergency Limit Condition of Historical Buildings along Strategic Urban Roadways. Application to the “Antiga Esquerra de L’Eixample” Neighborhood of Barcelona. Int. J. Archit. Herit. (2018) 12: 1055-1075.

[3] Paricio Casademunt, A. Secrets d’un sistema constructiu: l’Eixample. Barcelona: Edicions UPC (2001)

[4] Lantada, N., Pujades, L.G. and Barbat, A.H. Vulnerability index and capacity spectrum based methods for urban seismic risk evaluation. A comparison. Natural Hazards (2009) 51:501-524.

[5] Pujades, L.G., Barbat, A.H., González-Drigo, J.R., Avila, J. and Lagomarsino, S. Seismic performance of a block of buildings representative of the typical construction in the Eixample district in Barcelona (Spain). Bull. Earthq. Eng. (2012) 10:331–349.

[6] Cornadó Bardón, C. Comportament mecánic-estructural dels edificis històrics de murs d'obra de fàbrica de maó de l'Eixample de Barcelona. Tesis doctoral UPC, Barcelona, (2015)

[7] TNO DIsplacement method ANAlyser (DIANA FEA), release 10.3, Delft, Netherlands (2019).

[8] Segura, J., Pelà, L., Roca, P. and Cabané, A. Experimental analysis of the size effect on the compressive behaviour of cylindrical samples core-drilled from existing brick masonry. Construction and building materials (2018) 228:116759.

[9] Italian code - Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Circolare 21 Gennaio 2019. Istruzioni per l'applicazione delle nuove norme tecniche per le costruzioni, (2019)

[10] Endo, Y., Pelà, L. and Roca, P. Review of Different Pushover Analysis Methods Applied to Masonry Buildings and Comparison with Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis. Earthq. Eng. (2017a) 21:1234–1255.

[11] Saloustros, S., Pelà, L., Contrafatto, F.R., Roca, P. and Petromichelakis, I. Analytical Derivation of Seismic Fragility Curves for Historical Masonry Structures Based on Stochastic Analysis of Uncertain Material Parameters. Int. J. Archit. Herit. (2019) 13 (7):1142–64.

Back to Top

Document information

Published on 30/11/21
Submitted on 30/11/21

Volume Vulnerability and risk analysis, 2021
DOI: 10.23967/sahc.2021.239
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

Document Score


Views 4
Recommendations 0

Share this document

claim authorship

Are you one of the authors of this document?