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Seismic Design of Box-Type Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Through Direct Displacement-Based Approach

Fulvio Parisi*
Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, via Claudio 21, 80125 Naples, Italy


In the last decade, displacement-based seismic design procedures have been recognised to be effective alternatives to force-based design (FBD) methods. Indeed, displacement based design (DBD) may allow the structural engineer to get more realistic predictions of local and global deformations of the structure, and hence damage, under design earthquakes. This facilitates the achievement of performance objectives and loss mitigation in the lifetime of the structure. Nonetheless, DBD needs further investigation for some structural types such as masonry buildings.

In this paper, a direct displacement based design (DDBD) procedure for unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings is presented and critically compared to FBD. The procedure is proposed for box-type URM buildings with reinforced concrete slabs, bond beams and lintels above openings, which have shown acceptable seismic performance in severe earthquakes preventing out-of-plane failure modes. Seismic design of a three storey brick masonry building in a high seismicity region is discussed as a case study. The effects of ordinary and near-field design earthquakes, as well as load combinations and accidental eccentricity prescribed by current codes, were investigated. Finally, design solutions provided by FBD and DDBD were optimised and their construction costs were estimated. It was found that, particularly at small epicentral distances, neglecting the combination of horizontal seismic actions and accidental eccentricity may induce significant underestimation and an ideally more uniform distribution of strength demands on URM walls. In addition, construction costs resulting from DDBD may be significantly lower than those related to code based FBD procedures.

Keywords: Accidental eccentricity, Construction costs, Displacement-based design, Earthquake resistance, Force-based design, Load combinations, Modern unreinforced masonry buildings.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2016
Volume: 10
Issue: Suppl 2: M9
First Page: 293
Last Page: 311
Publisher Id: TOBCTJ-10-293
DOI: 10.2174/1874836801610010293

Article History:

Received Date: 15/1/2015
Revision Received Date: 15/5/2015
Acceptance Date: 8/7/2015
Electronic publication date: 31/05/2016
Collection year: 2016

© Fulvio Parisi; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, via Claudio 21, 80125 Naples, Italy; Tel: +39-081-7683659; Fax: +39-081-7685921; E-mail:

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