The Materials Book

Embrace the Rubble: Use debris from buildings damaged in earthquakes After a massive earthquake struck Lisbon in 1755, Portuguese engineers developed a robust reconstruction method, called gaiola pombalina , in which rigid wood structures are filled with debris gathered from collapsed buildings. Today, an updated version of this idea is being proposed for the town of Juchitán in Oaxaca, devastated by an earthquake in 2017. Instead of wood, the frames are made from rigid steel and are filled with material recovered from nearby buildings—so the rubble won’t be dumped into a nearby river. 300 Example: The gaiola pombalina system and building debris, seen in construction in Juchitán, Mexico Contributed by: Loreta Castro Reguera and José Pablo Ambrosi (Taller Capital), Mexico