Materials and Structures

, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 4247–4263 | Cite as

The protection of artistic assets through the base isolation of historical buildings: a novel uplifting technology

  • Gian Piero Lignola
  • Luigi Di Sarno
  • Marco Di Ludovico
  • Andrea Prota
Original Article


The present paper focuses on a novel advanced procedure for the installation of base isolation system (BIS) in historical buildings. The performance objectives of such critical structures and contents are first assessed to set the ground for the reliable evaluation of the response under earthquake ground motions. A number of controversial steps in the evaluation of the seismic demand and possible performance objectives associated to different aspects for a cultural heritage asset are identified and possible solutions proposed. It is shown that BIS is a cost-effective and efficient method that can be employed to protect adequately historical structures and artistic assets. Notwithstanding, the installation of isolation devices in historical structures is not an easy task. A novel advanced procedure based on the construction of two reinforced concrete foundation mats at the base of the existing structure to uplift the sample buildings (e.g. churches, museums, palaces, etc.) is illustrated in the paper. Hydraulic jacks are located along the bearing walls and tend to be as less intrusive as possible. A case study is also investigated both experimentally and numerically; the sample structure consists of a full-scale traditional masonry residential building. Refined yet versatile finite element (FE) models of the sample structures have been implemented and are used to determine the stresses within the foundation mat and superstructure. The FE models were calibrated on in-situ measurements for both structures. Such numerical models were also utilized to perform parametric analyses.


Earthquake damage Historical buildings Artistic assets Base isolators Seismic retrofit Uplift 



This work was financially supported by the three-year Project PON Research and Competitiveness (2007-2013) 01_02283, Modelling of the seismic isolation for historical buildings, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research. The patent of the uplifting technology is property of CONSTA S.p.a., an Italian Contractor. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agencies.


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gian Piero Lignola
    • 1
  • Luigi Di Sarno
    • 2
  • Marco Di Ludovico
    • 1
  • Andrea Prota
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Structures for Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversity of SannioBeneventoItaly

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