Evaluation of reinforced adobe techniques for sustainable reconstruction in andean seismic zones

José Carlos Cárdenas-Gómez, Montserrat Bosch Gonzales, Carlos Arturo Damiani Lazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research presents a methodological process for selecting the most appropriate construction technique for the reconstruction of housing after a seismic disaster in a rural and heritage context. This process, which is applicable to a large part of the Andean region, incorporates sus-tainability criteria to guarantee the economic, social and environmental balance of the intervention. The methodology was developed on a case study: the Colca Valley in Arequipa, Peru. In 2016 an earthquake affected this zone, where traditional unreinforced earthen buildings suffered serious dam-age. The objective of this research focuses on comparing six traditional building techniques strongly related to self-building: four techniques for adobe housing—reinforced with cane (CRA), wire mesh (WMRA), geogrid (GRA) and halyard ropes (HRRA)—and two techniques for masonry buildings— confined (CM) and reinforced (RM). For this purpose the authors used the Integrated Value Model for Sustainable Assessment (MIVES), a Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) model used to compare alternatives by assigning a “sustainability index” to each evaluated construction technique. This research study includes two types of variables: quantitative, such as economy ($/m2) and environmental impact (kgCO2 /m2 ), among others, and qualitative, such as perception of safety, respect for the urban image and popular knowledge. The research results show that reinforced adobe techniques are a viable and competitive option, highlighting the cane reinforced adobe technique (CRA), with a value of 0.714 in relation to industrialized materials such as masonry. This technique has the same safety characteristics, but at almost half the price, with the additional advantage of using traditional materials and construction methods, having less environmental impact and showing better thermal performance in cold climates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4955
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa (National University of San Augustin de Arequipa) funded this research; the “UNSA INVESTIGA” Program subsidized this research project under contract N◦ TP-06-2019-UNSA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Evaluation
  • Index
  • MCDA (Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis)
  • MIVES (The Spanish Integrated Value Model for Sustainable Assessment)
  • Reconstruction
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of reinforced adobe techniques for sustainable reconstruction in andean seismic zones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this