Project Description

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

Alatri, Lazio (Italy)
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Seismic Design & Evaluation
  • Research & Testing
Market Sector:
  • Community & Faith

In October of 2016, central Italy was devastated by a significant earthquake, destroying homes and entire villages. Italy is prone to seismic activity and is also home to many precious medieval structures, including many churches.  Determining how to best protect these historic buildings that hold great cultural and community value is a complex issue.

Frost engineering team members David Pirchio – a central Italian native – Kevin Walsh, Lily Pearson, and former Frost intern Marie Bond partnered with the University of Notre Dame and Italian universities to help develop a holistic seismic risk assessment methodology to apply across regional and national portfolios. The Santa Maria Maggiore evaluation was part of this larger project and included structural assessment, analysis, and photogrammetric modeling of this church. The unreinforced masonry building was originally constructed in the 13th century and composed of square-cut stones and lime-based mortar. Using non-destructive testing techniques, each component of the church (e.g., the facade, apse, vaults, lateral walls, etc.) was assessed singularly and the structure of the church was globally modeled and analyzed to capture potential deficiencies and criticality.

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