Last April, the Getty Seismic Adobe Project 2006 Colloquium was held at the Getty Center. The three-day event, organized by the GCI Earthen Architecture Initiative, brought together a select group of sixty-two international professionals with expertise in conservation, seismic retrofitting methods, and earthen structure building standards. The colloquium was a forum for discussion of key issues in preserving earthen cultural heritage in the world's seismic regions while ensuring life safety.
The GCI has a long-standing commitment to the preservation of earthen architecture. The Getty Seismic Adobe Project (19922002) conducted research and testing of adobe structures to evaluate retrofitting methodologies that would ensure adherence to safety standards while preserving the historic architectural fabric. The Getty Seismic Adobe Project 2006 Colloquium is an extension of this work.
The colloquium program included formal presentations, panel discussions, and site visits, providing for informal information exchange and discussion. Individual sessions addressed the evolution of earthquake-resistant design criteria and testing methods for earthen buildings, building codes and standards specific to earthen architecture, traditional earthquake-resistant construction techniques for earthen buildings, and retrofit case studies. Participants toured Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach, California, with the preservation architect, structural engineer, and contractor who designed the structure's retrofit. The final day of the colloquium was devoted to a series of roundtable discussions to identify knowledge gaps in the field and to articulate methods to fill those gaps.
A post-colloquium tour to several historic adobes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties permitted continued discussion of retrofit and rehabilitation measures with project architects, engineers, archaeologists, site managers, and contractors at these sites.
In September 2006 the GCI Earthen Architecture Initiative, in conjunction with the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) and the California Office of Historic Preservation, is organizing a follow-up workshop aimed at building officials, building owners, site managers, architects, engineers, conservators, and allied professionals interested in earthen architecture. Entitled "Seismic Retrofit of Historic Adobes and Earthen Structures," this event, to be held September 14, 2006, at the Getty Center, will present background research and recent case studies describing alternate strengthening methods for these structures. A public evening lecture will follow. Registration for the workshop can be made through the CPF Web site.