Mismatches in climatically and seismically responsive global dominant building forms

W. Victoria Lee, Robin Spence

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper presents a cross-disciplinary analysis of the relative seismic resistance and climatic appropriateness of global building forms. The first part compares climatically and seismically responsive forms in 20 different climate zones across the world’s most seismically hazardous regions. The second part analyzes the climatic and seismic appropriateness of the global building stock against the seismic hazard map and historical meteorological records. Preliminary analysis shows that seismic performance varies significantly among building forms that are suitable for their respective climates, with general poor expected performance from those
typically found in arid and high altitude climates. Furthermore, the more seismically vulnerable heavyweight constructions are found to dominate in the seismically hazardous regions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and South America where such construction is generally suitable for their climates. With the exception of a few
poorer countries, lightweight constructions are found mostly in richer nations in the seismically active regions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering - Lisbon Congress Center, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 24 Sep 201228 Sep 2012


ConferenceThe 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering
Abbreviated title15 WCEE


  • thermal performance
  • seismic performance
  • building stocks
  • heavyweight construction
  • lightweight construction


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