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To Protecting Buildings from Collapses by Earthquakes, Accidents and Terrorist's Acts


Leonard Ghelphand


Between 1950 and 1970 the former Soviet Union underwent a rapid growth of mass prefabri­cated urban construction, which, although the technical policies were not sufficiently unified, to a great extent enabled the acute housing crisis in the country to be solved. This led to a number of serial projects of blocks of flats with few architectural differences, but a variety of non-unified parame­ters for layout and design, chosen according to the required degree of safety and cost-effective­ness. The absence of standardization of the basic construction parameters resulted in theautono­mous development of each range, causing a dramatic increase in the overall quantity of typical dimen­sions of each member. This gave rise to a paradoxically unfavorable situation for the construction indus­try on the one hand, which was more effective in conditions of mass production of a minimal nomencla­ture of structural elements, and was forced to produce them in small batches each corresponding to a huge quantity of different grades, and on the other hand for the consumers who were interested in the diver­sity of the final product (buildings and premises), but had to make do with the meager selection that was offered them. Although the architectural poverty is obvious at first glance, the safety of the load-bearing systems is only revealed by analysis, building, operation of the structure and inspection (and also by accidents and earthquakes). As for the cost-effectiveness of the structure under the social­ist system, they are of a fairly conventional character and do not fully reflect the real correlation be­tween the expenses and their conformity to the operational and aesthetic quality of the structures achieved. Russia's transition to a market economy, which aspires to a dynamic equilibrium of the mone­tary-commodity relationship in its final stage, at first, enabled the disproportion between the cost price and the market price of property to increase. This led to a redistribution of resources. The State financ­ing of large-scale industrial construction dropped sharply, whilst there was a considerable in­crease in private financing for the less economical and less industrial construction of prestigious build­ings, individual "cottages" and private residences (often like palaces), as well as in the ama­teur building of rural dwellings (as good as shacks for their comfort and architecture), and "da­chas" (as a rule far from Moscow, but sometimes for their comfort and architecture not far off from dogs' kennels).

Thus architecture, the most objective form of art, reflects the social and economic stratifica­tion process which is taking place in the country (it had been going on even earlier, only was usually con­cealed behind silent walls).

Along with the destructive phrase: "Peace with the slums, war on the palaces!” it would be more sensible to follow the slogan of Mao Dzedun: "May all the flowers bloom!"  However, earthquakes preferred destroy mainly the low slums,but not the palaces, weeds propagate themselves, Mao andother dictators preferred to shortenfirst of all the highest flowers (by cutting their heads).

Author of this article, to bi “christened” to “large panel buildings protector” by the earthquakes in Tashkent 1966, had began to make attempts for protecting as “the slums” so “the palaces” (not only of large panels) from failures by earthquakes, accidents and terrorist’s acts.

In the USSR “all the flowersbloomed” in buildings constructions sphere, excep