PUCP – Terra 2012 – Call for submission of abstracts: Deadline extension

The organizers of the Terra 2012 Conference are pleased to announce that more than 200 abstracts have been received. In order to meet the request of many people interested in participating in the Conference, the deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended until Monday, March 21st, 2011. For more information go to http://congreso.pucp.edu.pe/terra2012/.

Los organizadores de la Conferencia Terra 2012 tienen el placer de comunicar que se han recibido más de 200 resúmenes de ponencias. Para atender al pedido de muchas personas interesadas en participar en la conferencia se ha ampliado el plazo de recepción de resúmenes hasta el lunes 21 de marzo de 2011. Para más información consultar en http://congreso.pucp.edu.pe/terra2012/.

Terra 2012

The International Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage (ISCEAH) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) are pleased to announce that the XI International Conference on the Study and the Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage, Terra 2012, will be held in Lima, Peru, from April 23rd to 27th, 2012. The main theme of the conference will be “Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage against Natural Disasters and Climatic Change” and more than 500 specialists in the fields of earthen architecture are expected to attend.

The conference will provide a unique and invaluable opportunity to discuss and exchange information on the latest advances in the research and conservation field. Moreover, participants will learn about the cultural identity of earthen architecture in Latin America and be able to observe firsthand conservation issues in Peru, a country with a long and rich tradition of construction with earth.

Earthquake Proofing Traditional Peruvian Houses

Since 1970, Peru has been hit by five powerful and deadly earthquakes. The latest struck Peru’s coast exactly two years ago with a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale. It fiercely shook the capital Lima, but its devastating epicentre was about 200km (124 miles) to the south, near the town of Pisco, a small fishing port built largely of adobe – mud bricks which Peruvians have used for thousands of years. For Peruvian engineer Marcial Blondet, it was the devastating quake in 1970 that first motivated him to develop earthquake-resistant buildings, particularly for those who could least afford them. Mr Blondet and his team found a solution in an industrial plastic mesh used by mining companies to hold back earth on slopes. It is strong, cheap and easy to use. Securely enveloping a normal mud-brick home in the mesh can prevent the walls from collapsing in an earthquake. The building wobbles but it does not fall down.

The Peru Earthquake

photo by Marcial Blondet

On Wednesday evening an 8.0 earthquake struck central Peru, devastating the Ica region of the Andean country. The official death toll from this unfolding disaster currently stands at 502 [as of 16 Aug — Ed.]; around four hundred of these were residents of Pisco, a city of over 100,000 near the epicenter of the main quake. Pisco is reported to have lost 80 percent of its homes.

Peru’s La Republic reported that Palomino had cautioned and warned homeowners not to rebuild their homes on their own despite the fact that they may have no other choice after so much neglect. Despite this, citizens in Pisco, Peru are informally building adobe houses as a way of recovering after the earthquake.

Dr. Marcial Blondet, a professor of at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru, an expert on seismic design for earthen buildings has written Earthquake-Resistant Construction of Adobe Buildings: A Tutorial as well as a number of important text on the performance of mud brick in earthquake zones, particularly in Peru. More resources about earthen architecture in seismic zones and the Peru earthquake can be found at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute website.


The Department of Engineering of the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) is organizing an International Seminar of Architecture, Construction and Conservation of Earthen Buildings in Seismic Areas. The seminar is sponsored by Proterra (a Research Project of CYTED), the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI).

This event will take place on the PUCP campus, from 16-19 May 2005. It will include keynote conferences from international experts, oral and poster presentations, and technical demonstrations at the Structures Laboratory of the PUCP, where full-scale seismic simulation tests of adobe dwellings will be performed.

You are welcome to visit the website of SismoAdobe2005 at www.pucp.edu.pe/eventos/SismoAdobe2005 for more information.