PAGER - Common Building Types

Italy

"Casa Torre" construction

This construction technique originated during the Middle Ages in response to the threat of military invasions. The building plan is a square lattice, 5-7 meters, formed by three or four floors, with one room on each floor, and a total height of 15-20 m. It is a common technique found in Pisa but also found frequently in many municipalities of Tuscany and adjacent districts. The structure of the building is supported by four stone columns connected by arches (circle or oval) or by beams at each floor; the floor is supported by a series of wood beams (especially pine) with wood tables and/or clay blocks. The upper floors of the earlier historic buildings often contained a wood balcony supported by cantilevered wood beams. Some balconies are fully enclosed structures with clay-tile roofing. The entrance on the first floor could be accessed by means of a detachable wood staircase.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #113) - Mauro Sassu, Chiara Cei

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Unreinforced stone masonry

This construction type is common in rural areas of central Italy. The structural system consists of very thick walls present throughout the building, and by the occasional iron tie-rods to help confine the walls. Buildings of this type may exhibit poor seismic performance, mostly due existing structural deficiencies (e.g., flues/chimney, niches, etc.), ineffective wall-to-wall, wall-to-slab, and wall-to-roof connections, and the unbalanced outward thrust of the vaults. This housing type constitutes approximately 60% of the entire building stock in the rural areas of Umbria.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #120) - Riccardo Vetturini, Anacleto Cleri, Fabrizio Mollailoli, Paolo Bazzurro

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Unreinforced stone masonry image
Unreinforced stone masonry image

Unreinforced stone masonry wall with timber floors

This construction type is common throughout central Italy e.g., Nocera Umbra, the province of Perugia, and the Umbria region of Italy. Most buildings of this type are rectangular in shape, and often have one unit, and they generally share perimeter walls with adjacent buildings. Very thick walls are present throughout the building, especially at the foundation level, and occasional iron tie-rods add to the structural strength. Numerous additions and modifications are made over its life span to accommodate the changing living requirements. Gravity loads in the building are carried by thick unreinforced stone walls constructed using a technique referred to as "a sacco". The majority of the floor slabs are constructed of timber beams with intermediate timber joists. Floor system may consists of a vaulted floor construction assembled from steel beams and clay-infill bricks arching between them with a lightweight concrete topping layer. Several structural deficiencies exist e.g., ineffective connection between interior and exterior wythes of the walls, presence of unbraced flues/chimneys, niches, ineffective wall-to-wall, wall-to-slab, and wall-to-roof connections, and poor configuration of openings in the load bearing walls.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #121) - Riccardo Vetturini, Fabrizio Mollailoli, Paolo Bazzurro

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Unreinforced stone masonry wall with timber floors image
Unreinforced stone masonry wall with timber floors image

Stone masonry row house

These buildings form the historic centers of most hilltop villages and towns in central Italy. They are arranged in long terraced clusters. Hillside dwellings have common walls and have two or three stories. Buildings situated in the valley usually have upto six stories. The typical dwelling house is usually formed by one or two masonry cells, depending on the depth of the block, and with a staircase (usually but not necessarily) running along the common wall. The masonry is made of roughly squared stone blocks set in lime mortar, and the walls are made of two leaves with a rubble core at the base, tapering at the upper floors. Limestone is used for the blocks, while a particular type of tuffa stone is used for the lintels above the openings. At the ground level vaulted structures may exist. The upper stories are spanned by timber beams, with joist and timber boards covered by tiles. The roof structure is usually timber trusses.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #28) - Dina D'Ayala, Elena Speranza

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Brick masonry row house

This single-family housing type, found throughout the Central Italy mainly in hill towns and small cities, is typically built on sloped terrain. A typical house is three stories high, built between two adjacent buildings with which it shares common walls. The main facade of the house faces a narrow road. All the walls are made of unreinforced brick masonry in lime mortar, while the floor structures are vaults at the ground floor level, and timber floor structures at the higher levels. The roof is made of timber and is double-pitched, sloping down towards the front and rear walls. The ground floor level (perforated with openings on one side only) is used for storage, while the other two stories are used for residential purposes.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #29) - Dina D'Ayala, Elena Speranza, Francesco D'Ercole

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Brick masonry row house image
Brick masonry row house image

Reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill

This building type is commonly used for multifamily housing in urban areas of Italy and is particularly common in the region of Potenza (Basilicata). The main load-bearing structure is a reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill walls. Buildings constructed prior to the 1980 earthquake may be designed for gravity loads only. Many buildings of this type were strengthened through financial assistance provided by the government after the earthquake. The upgrade typically consists of installing new shear walls and L-shaped columns, and strengthening the foundation.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #30) - Maurizio Leggeri, Giuseppe Lacava, Eugenio Viola

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Reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill image
Reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill image

Brick masonry with mud/lime mortar

This is a single-family farmhouse construction, found throughout the Padania plain (Reggio Emilia Province). This housing type accounts for approximately 20% of the entire housing stock in the Reggio Emilia municipality. This building practice is no longer followed. Most of the existing buildings were built in the 19th and 20th centuries. The residential and agricultural sections of the house are separated by a central area closed at one end and hence called a "dead door." The residential section usually has two floors (typical story height 2.5 - 3.0 m) and a sloping roof. The agricultural portion, usually larger than the residential section, also has two floor levels.

Reference: EERI and IAEE\'s World Housing Encyclopedia (Report #31) - Agostino Goretti, Daniela Malvolti, Simona Papa

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Brick masonry with mud/lime mortar image
Brick masonry with mud/lime mortar 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.