WIT Press

The Textile Block System: Seismic Analysis And Upgrading


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WIT Press


A. P. Vargas & G. G. Schierle


The textile block system is a unique structural system created by Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 1920s, before any seismic regulations existed in California. The first four houses, all located in California, have been deteriorating severely due to seismic and environmental effects. Previous research and interventions to preserve them have not been completely successful. It is therefore important to carry out an analysis of the seismic vulnerability of these structures, and explore ways of strengthening them to comply with current seismic requirements. This paper demonstrates that the textile block system can be upgraded to current structural standards for seismic safety based on the International Building Code, IBC 2003 and codes for historical structures, including the California Historical Building Code and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Freeman House is used as case study. The allowable stress design method (ASD) is used for the analysis. The paper also discusses procedures and construction methods to strengthen existing textile block structure. The methodology presented may be used for seismic upgrading of other historic structures as well. Keywords: textile block, Frank Lloyd Wright, ASD, allowable stress, shear walls, base shear, seismic analysis, seismic upgrading. 1 Introduction With the recognition of Frank Lloyd Wright as great architect and designation of many of his buildings as historical monuments, there has been increasing emphasis placed on the preservation and conservation of his masterpieces. This paper aims to analyze and upgrade with an affordable and non destructive method the Freeman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in


textile block, Frank Lloyd Wright, ASD, allowable stress, shearwalls, base shear, seismic analysis, seismic upgrading.