PAGER - Common Building Types

El Salvador

Mixed timber, bamboo and mud wall construction (Vivienda de Bahareque)

The bahareque construction type refers to a mixed timber, bamboo and mud wall construction technique. In some Latin American countries this construction type is also known as 'quincha' (engl.: wattle and daub). Bahareque buildings are characterized by high flexibility and elasticity when carefully constructed and well-maintained, and thus originally display good performance against dynamic earthquake loads. Poor workmanship, lack of maintenance, and structural deficiencies such as a heavy roofing made out of tiles can cause increased vulnerability. Bahareque structures are primarily of residential use and only one story. The structural walls are mostly composed of vertical timber elements and horizontal struts which are either made of timber slats, cane/reed (carrizo), bamboo or tree limb (ramas). Bahareque houses in rural areas are quite different from those in urban areas, both in terms of their aesthetical appearance as well as structural capacity. According to statistics of the Vice-ministry of Housing and Urban Development in the year 1971 bahareque buildings had a share of 33.1% of all buildings in El Salvador, while in 1994 the percentage of bahareque declined to about 11% and in 2004 to about 5%.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #141) - Dominik Lang, Roberto Merlos, Lisa Holliday, Manuel A. Lopez M.

Building Image
Mixed timber, bamboo and mud wall construction (Vivienda de Bahareque) image
Mixed timber, bamboo and mud wall construction (Vivienda de Bahareque) image
Mixed timber, bamboo and mud wall construction (Vivienda de Bahareque) image

Adobe house (Vivienda de Adobe)

This type of construction can be found in rural and urban areas of El Salvador. Rural: Adobe houses are generally small structures, 5 x 6 m in the plan, having load-resistant walls made of adobe bricks between 0.3 and 0.5 m thick. Usually, they are single- (five-person) houses. Wood planks that support metal sheets covered by tiles sometimes constitute the roof. In some cases, the roof can be a thatched roof supported by wood purlins. Urban: Adobe houses are much bigger in urban areas than in rural areas. They are one-floor structures and their plans are 15 x 30 m or larger. The wall thickness can easily reach 1 m and wall height can reach 3 m or more. The heavy roof along with unreinforced bearing walls makes adobe construction highly vulnerable to earthquake effects.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #14) - Manuel A. Lopez M., Julian Bommer, Gilda Benavidez

Building Image
Adobe house (Vivienda de Adobe) image
Adobe house (Vivienda de Adobe) image

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*Building types and their descriptions are taken from the World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) database when available or based on additional research performed by the PAGER team. This information is provided with the understanding that it is not guaranteed to be correct or complete, and conclusions drawn from such information are the sole responsibility of the user.