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Earthquake Performance of Historic Timber Buildings in New Zealand

Garrick Tonks & John Chapman, School of Architecture, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

This paper explains how the early European immigrants to New Zealand, in the mid-nineteenth century, found that their traditional stone buildings were susceptible to destruction by hurricanes and earthquakes; and they discovered that wooden buildings proved to be more durable and able to withstand the natural forces. Church buildings are described to illustrate this switch to building in wood. In the second part of the paper, two modern medium rise buildings are introduced and their systems for withstanding earthquake and wind loads are explained.

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