In February 2011, the Spanish Agency for International Development Coorperation, as part of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced a public tender for the consultancy services to carry out some studies and works in a building owned by the Spanish Government in Port au Price.
THE BUILDING. The building, located in the rue Baussan, 28 Port au Prince, Haiti, had been acquired by the Spanish Government in 2009 to house the Spanish House of Culture in that country. The building is listed in the National Institute for Historic Preservation and constitutes one of the most significant examples of Gingerbread Caribbean Architecture.
The building has a nearly sqare floor plan, 19x18 square metres, and consists of 5 support alignments pararell to the main façade and 4 perpendicular alignments. This grid is materialized by masonry pillars, connected by arches and masonry and lime and pebble walls..
SCOPE OF WORKS. The earthquake that shook the city of Port au Prince in January 2010 caused innumerable damages to the structural elements of the building and created the need for a real risk assessment of the structure conditions, materials characterization, structural evaluation, geotechnical studies, as well as potential solutions for the studies obtained results.
INES detected some structural elements in unstable equilibrium due to the loss of their support or shape. The rest of the building was still standing, but marked by damages of important structural implications, crackings, verticality losses, etc. Concerning the geotechnical studies, INES carried out several field tests, samples collection and laboratory tests.