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September 22, 2015

Getty Conservation Institute Signs Three-Year Agreement With Peru’s Ministry Of Culture To Implement Seismic Retrofitting For Historic Buildings


Signing ceremony to be held at the Cathedral of Ica on September 22

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The Cathedral of Ica, Ica Peru, one of the Seismic Retrofitting Project buildings representing ecclesiastical constructions in the coast. This church built with thick mud- brick walls, pillars, domes and vaults made of Quincha, was built in 1759 and was severely damaged during the 2007 and 2011 earthquake. The GCI is working with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and local consultants for its conservation and seismic retrofitting. Photo: Scott Warren, 2012.

LOS ANGELES – The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) announced today a three-year collaborative agreement with Peru’s Ministry of Culture (Ministerio de Cultura del Perú) to develop, disseminate, and implement seismic retrofitting techniques for historic earthen buildings in Peru as part of the GCI’s Seismic Retrofitting Project (SRP). The agreement extends an existing partnership that has yielded significant findings and recommendations to protect some of Peru’s most important historic structures from further damage from earthquakes. The agreement will be signed in a ceremony on September 22 at the Cathedral of Ica, the first site that benefits from the SRP and for which the GCI has developed construction drawings for its seismic retrofitting in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Ica.

Since 2011, the GCI and the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the University of Minho in Portugal, have been designing, testing and modeling retrofitting systems for four prototype building sites, including the Cathedral of Ica; the Hotel El Comercio, a 19th-century building in the historic center of Lima constructed with adobe walls in the first floor and quincha walls in the upper ones; the Church of Kuño Tambo, a 17th-century colonial church in the Andes Mountains; and Casa Arones, a 17th- century house located in the historic center of Cusco, both of them constructed with adobe walls and wooden truss roofs. The buildings are also representative of earthen buildings throughout the region.

Church of Santiago Apóstol of Kuño Tambo in Acomayo, Cusco Peru, another Seismic Retrofitting Project building representing ecclesiastical buildings in the Andes. This church built with thick mud-brick walls and wooden truss roofs (par y nudillo) was built in 1681 and is decorated with wall paintings from the same period. The GCI is working with the Cusco office of the Ministry of Culture for its conservation and seismic retrofitting. Photo: Wilfredo Carazas, 2010.

The SRP team decided to develop construction documents and oversee the seismic reinforcement of two of the four prototype sites. The construction documents for the seismic retrofitting of Ica Cathedral will be delivered to Peruvian authorities during the ceremony of the signature of the agreement between the GCI and the Ministry of Culture. The construction documents for the Church of Kuño Tambo also include a condition assessment and stabilization of the Church wall paintings, which will be protected during structural repairs and conserved in situ rather than removing them from the site.

“Our collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute for the safeguarding of Peru’s heritage is very valuable,” says Diana Alvarez Calderón-Gallo, Peru’s Minister of Culture. “The GCI brings international expertise to the challenge of retrofitting our historic buildings in a way that conserves what is important about them but improves life safety and helps to build support for implementing these techniques in Peru and other countries in Latin America.”

The GCI’s Seismic Retrofitting Project (part of the GCI’s Earthen Architecture Initiative) combines traditional construction techniques and materials with high-tech methodologies to design easy-to-implement seismic retrofitting techniques. Keeping cultural heritage in mind, the project seeks to improve the structural performance and safety of earthen buildings while minimizing the loss of historic fabric.

“These types of earthen buildings have managed to survive in a region that is plagued by earthquakes, but intervention is needed to ensure that additional damage is mitigated,” says Susan Macdonald, head of field projects at the Getty Conservation Institute. “The GCI is dedicated to bringing low-cost, manageable conservation solutions to the region, and we are looking forward to our continued collaboration with the Ministry.”

The GCI and Ministry staff, technical personnel, and consultants, in collaboration with the other SRP partners, will continue to work together on the last three components of the project: logistical support for the implementation of the retrofitting and maintenance programs using model conservation projects; the development of capacity building and training strategy so that maintenance will continue after the project is completed; and the development and distribution of implementation guidelines and manuals for the professional conservation community and site managers in the region.

The GCI Council and the Friends of Heritage Preservation are financial supporters of the Seismic Retrofitting Project.

The first phase of this renewed collaboration begins September 2015, and continues through June 2018.

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The Getty Conservation Institute works to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. It serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the Conservation Institute focuses on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage.

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