PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION OF VERNACULAR ADOBE HERITAGE LOCATED IN SEISMIC-PRONE REGIONS
In general, relevant actions to retrofit heritage should be considered before the occurrence of earthquakes. This proactive approach is preferred, rather than a reactive approach in an emergency situation, following the earthquake. These preventive actions are known as disaster mitigation, risk mitigation, disaster risk management, seismic upgrading and preventive conservation. In the case of vernacular heritage, poor workmanship, lack of financial support, vast number of buildings, and the use of weak material lead to the need to conduct efforts to develop preventive conservation methods with relevant criteria. All these actions were directed to protecting vernacular heritage from multiple potential damages that could threaten this architecture in the future. In recent years, records of casualty and losses due to earthquakes reveal that seismic events can be one of the most destructive potential damages for building, especially if constructed with a weak material, such as adobe. There is little literature concerning preventive conservation of vernacular adobe buildings, which are at risk from earthquakes. Vernacular architecture needs more consideration due to the high number of vernacular dwellings worldwide but especially due to the inhabitants’ safety. Failure to recall the effects of destructive earthquakes with a large recurrent period of seismic actions, but also economic reasons lead to the neglect of these important preventive solutions. The main objective of this paper is to emphasize that a comprehensive conservation procedure related to prevention of casualties and damage of vernacular adobe heritage located in seismic-prone regions, should consider relevant principles and criteria for the conservation of cultural heritage. In the field of preventive conservation of adobe vernacular heritage located in seismic-prone regions, there is some confusion concerning the relation between the conservation process and the seismic protection process; the importance and need of conservation principles in seismic protection procedures; and also the role of the architect and of the engineer in these processes. These matters will be discussed in the current paper.