New York, NY – June 25, 2012 - The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation has awarded a $17,000 grant to GeoHazards International (GHI) to fund a student internship with the Framed Infill Network Project. Launched in 2011, the project promotes and directs international collaboration among researchers, engineers, architects, builders and building officials to make concrete frames with masonry infill walls safer during earthquakes.
Last fall, The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation committed $15,000 in support of GHI’s elementary school retrofit project in the Peruvian village of Chocos. Thanks in part to the grant, the village’s three-room elementary school was seismically retrofit to create a structure that is no longer a collapse hazard during earthquakes.
In the last decade, tens of thousands of people have been killed in earthquakes by the collapse of buildings made of concrete frames with unreinforced masonry infill walls. These relatively low-cost buildings are prevalent in cities located in zones of high seismic hazard in both developing and industrialized countries.
GHI and members of the Framed Infill Network are developing construction methods in which the infill is intentionally designed to help buildings resist earthquakes. The non-profit organization believes that with appropriate guidance, engineers and builders can make modest changes to their current practices to create buildings that use infill walls to improve earthquake performance.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation grant will enable a student to work with prominent engineers and researchers on developing innovative approaches to infill construction – such as a rocking spine system – and apply cutting-edge engineering design and research to ensure the safety of people in developing countries.
Founded in 1991, GHI has a mission – pursued in more than 20 countries – to reduce loss of life and suffering caused by earthquakes and tsunamis in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
“GeoHazard’s earthquake resistant construction project fits perfectly with the Foundation’s goal of supporting education and humanitarian efforts around the globe. Developing safer and comparably inexpensive methods of constructing infill buildings is key to reducing earthquake risk in many of the world’s cities.”
Richard Tomasetti, chairman, Thornton Tomasetti Foundation
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization established in February 2008, has two primary missions including funding fellowships, scholarships and internships for undergraduate students, and those planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design or technology and providing financial support for individuals and organizations pursuing philanthropic activities related to building engineering, design or technology. Key elements of the program are college scholarships, traveling internships, and grants to, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations.