Italian architect says PH buildings should be earthquake-proof


Posted at Oct 28 2013 12:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2013 08:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines – An Italian architect based in the Philippines is advising local architects and builders to apply earthquake-proof principles when building structures in the country.

Romolo Nati, executive chairman and CEO of ITALPINAS Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corporation (ITPI), believes that now is the time to consider fully incorporating earthquake-proof principles in building designs following the deadly magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Central Visayas.

Nati said building hollow tube or tube-shaped structures is one way to prevent structural damage during tremors.

“The shape of the building must be done in such a way that it optimizes the building’s capability to adapt to seismic activity. The tube structure is the best shape to withstand forces and ground motion brought about by earthquakes,” he said.

He said bamboo can be used because of its tubular structure that combines strength and lightness.

He also noted that buildings need to be flexible to withstand earthquakes.

“There is a misconception that buildings have to be very rigid to survive earthquakes when in fact, they have to be flexible. Structures made from bricks and stones are very rigid, and in order to retrofit them to make them a safer place in case of earthquakes, they need to be reinforced with steel structures to render them earthquake-resistant,” he said.

Sustainable building

Nati partnered with Atty. Jojo Leviste in 2009 in building the 10-storey condominium building Primavera Residences in Cagayan de Oro City, which is the first and only sustainable building in Mindanao.

Leviste, president of ITPI, said Nati applied earthquake-proof principles in their premier condo project, adding that “safety is ITPI’s number one priority when it comes to designing and putting up buildings.”

He said the condo has not sustained any damage since it was completed in 2010.

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake was recently felt in CDO following the quake that hit Bohol and Cebu, but Leviste said while the quake caused some local buildings to develop cracks, it brought no damage to Primavera Residences.

Nati said Italy and the Philippines can learn from each other in terms of construction because the two have many similarities when it comes to natural calamities.

“For Italians, building quake-proof structures is not just an option. Every time we design in Italy, we have to consider that we are building something in an earthquake-prone country,” said Nati.