BULLETIN OF EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING, vol.14, no.12, pp.3509-3528, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Collapses of school or dormitory buildings experienced in recent earthquakes raise the issue of safety as a major challenge for decision makers. A school building is 'just another structure' technically speaking, however, the consequences of a collapse in an earthquake could lead to social reactions in the complex aftermath of a seismic tremor more than any other type of structure may possibly cause. In this paper a school building that collapsed during 2011 Tabanli, Van Earthquake in eastern Turkey, is analysed in order to identify the possible reasons that led to collapse. Apart from the inherent deficiencies of RC buildings built in Turkey in the 80's and 90's, its structural design exhibits a strikingly high asymmetry. In the analyses conducted, much attention has been given to the direction of the earthquake load and its coincidence with the bi-axial structural response parameters. The failure of the structure to comply with the 1975 Code, in vigor at the time of construction, has also been evaluated with respect to the structure's collapse. Among the parameters that controlled the collapse, the high plan asymmetry and the coincidence of the vulnerable directions with the dominant shaking direction were critical, as well as the underestimation of the seismic hazard and the lateral design force level, specified by the then Turkish Earthquake Code.