Several seismic events have demonstrated the vulnerability of masonry churches. The long seismic history of the Italian territory has provided materials to observe and to study the structural performance of churches. Since the 1976 Friuli earthquake many studies have contributed to the definition of specific damage and vulnerability assessment methods for churches, based on the identification of macro-elements and kinematic mechanisms. In this context, the paper presents the application of a vulnerability assessment methodology developed and currently applied in Italy to a case study representative of the néo-roman church typology in Montreal, Québec. The study is part of a collaborative project between Politecnico di Milano and École de Technologie Supérieure of Montreal. The relevance of such a study derives from the moderate seismicity of Montreal associated to a high density of churches. Starting from a previous inventory of 108 churches in Montreal Island, the Néo-roman church typology was selected to be investigated. Specificities of this typology are the position of the bell tower in the middle of the façade and the interaction between the timber structure and masonry walls. This combination between the façade and bell tower macro-elements requires to reconsider the mechanisms associated to these elements in the original reference method. A detailed survey of the roof and bell tower timber structures of a néo-roman church was done, and a three-dimensional numerical model was developed for a better understanding of this type of structure. Modal analysis of a global model was then carried out and the first results of the modal shapes discussed.

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] D'Ayala, D. and Benzoni, G. (2012) Historic and traditional structures during the 2010 chile earthquake: Observations, codes, and conservation strategies. Earth Spectr 28 (S1): S425-51.

[2] Cancino, C. (2011) Damage assessment of historic earthen buildings after the August 15, 2007, Pisco, Peru earthquake. Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles.

[3] D’Ayala, D., C. Galasso, V. Putrino, D. Fanciullacci, P. Barucco, V. Fanciullacci, C. Bronzino, et al. (2016) Assessment of the multi-hazard vulnerability of priority cultural heritage structures in the Philippines. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure, Chania, Greece.

[4] Marotta A., Sorrentino L., Liberatore D., Ingham J. (2017) Vulnerability assessment of unreinforced masonry churches following the 2010–2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence. J Earthq Eng 21(6):912–934.

[5] Doglioni, F., Moretti, A., Petrini, V. (1994) Le chiese e il terremoto. Trieste, Lint.

[6] DC PCM-DPC MIBAC. 2006. Form of damage for churches. Form A. Available from http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/multimedia/MiBAC/documents/1338454237471_alleg ato4.pdf (Accessed January 31, 2020).

[7] MiBACT (2011). Linee Guida per la Valutazione e Riduzione del Rischio Sismico del Patrimonio Culturale Allineate alle Nuove Norme Tecniche per le Costruzioni (D.M. 14 Gennaio 2008). Attachment C.

[8] Da Porto, F., Silva, B., Costa, C., and Modena, C. (2012) Macro-scale analysis of damage to churches after earthquake in Abruzzo (Italy) on April 6, 2009, J. Earth. Eng., 16,739–758.

[9] Brandonisio, G., Lucibello, G., Mele, E., and De Luca, A. (2013) Damage and performance evaluation of masonry churches in the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake, Engineering Failure Analysis, 34, 693–714.

[10] Sorrentino, L., Liberatore,L. Decanini, L. D., Liberatore, D. (2014) The performance of churches in the 2012 Emilia earthquakes, Bull Earthquake Eng 12: 2299–2331

[11] De Matteis, G., Zizi, M., and Corlito, V. (2017) Analisi preliminare degli effetti del terremoto del Centro Italia del 2016 sulle chiese a una navata. In ANIDIS XVII Convegno L’Ingegneria sismica in Italia, Pistoia, Italy, 17–21 September.

[12] Cescatti, E., Taffarel, S., Leggio, A., da Porto, F., and Modena, C. (2017) Macroscale damage assessment of URM churches after the 2016 earthquake sequence in Centre of Italy In: ANIDIS XVII Convegno L’Ingegneria sismica in Italia, Pistoia, Italy, 17–21 September.

[13] Youance, S. (2009) Évaluation de la vulnérabilité sismique des églises du Québec, ETS, Montreal.

[14] Sferrazza Papa, G. (2020) Seismic vulnerability of churches: a territorial knowledge approach, PhD Thesis, Politecnico di Milano, Milano.

[15] Sferrazza Papa, G., Parisi, M.A., Nollet, M-J. (2019) Seismic vulnerability of churches: the effect of context-related characteristics. In: ANIDIS XVIII L’Ingegneria sismica in Italia, Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 17–21 September.

[16] Lagomarsino, S. and Podestà, S. (2004a) Damage and vulnerability assessment of churches after the 2002 Molise, Iitaly, earthquake. Earth Spect 20 (S1): S271-83.

[17] Lagomarsino, S. and Podestà, S. (2004b) Seismic vulnerability of ancient churches: I. damage assessment and emergency planning. Earth Spect 20 (2): 377-94.

[18] Valente, M. and Milani, G. (2018) Seismic response and damage patterns of masonry churches: Seven case studies in Ferrara, Italy. Eng. Struct. 177 : 809-35.

[19] Casolo, S., S. Neumair, M. A. Parisi, and V. Petrini. 2000. Analysis of seismic damage patterns in old masonry church façades. Earth Spect 16 (4): 757-73.

[20] Adams, J. and Basham, P. (1989) The seismicity and seismotectonics of Canada East of the Cordillera. Geoscience Canada, Vol.16 (1).

[21] Nollet, M.-J., Abo El Ezz, A., and Nastev, M. (2013). Seismic risk assessment of unreinforced masonry buildings in Québec, In: 12th Canadian Masonry Symposium Vancouver, Bristish Columbia, June 2-5, 2013.

[22] Le Patrimoine religieux du Québec. Les églises de la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle. Available from http://www.gdcr.umontreal.ca/patrimoine/connaissance/catholicisme/dossier4.html (Accessed January 31 2020).

[23] Québec’s National Shrines. Montreal: The city of a hundred bell towers. Available from http://www.sanctuairesquebec.com/en/ (Accessed December, 28 2018).

[24] Parisi M A, Chesi C, Tardini C, Piazza M, (2008). Seismic vulnerability and preservation of timber roof structures. In: Proceedings SAHC08, Bath,UK, pp. 1253-1260.

[25] Chesi C, Parisi MA and Tardini C (2012) Inferring seismic behavior from morphohology in timber roofs, International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 6:100-116.

[26] Parisi MA and Chesi C (2014) Seismic vulnerability of traditional buildings: the effect of roof-masonry walls interaction. In: 10th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering. Anchorage, Alaska, 21-25 July.

[27] Abaqus (2016) Theory manual, version 2016.

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.2021.241
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

Document Score


Views 3
Recommendations 0

Share this document

claim authorship

Are you one of the authors of this document?