Swabian House, Hungary

From World Housing Encyclopedia

1. General Information

Report: 106

Building Type: Swabian House

Country: Hungary

Author(s): Maria Bostenaru Dan

Created on: 3/2/2004

Last Updated: 7/11/2004

Regions Where Found: This kind of building can be found in zones inhabited by the so-called “Danube Swabians”, a population which immigrated from south-west Germany to the Eastern limit of the Habsburg Empire around 1700. Today they are spread in Western Romania, West and South Hungary and Nothern Serbia, in “Banat”, “Bacs” and “Dunantul” and “Bacska” respectively and affected by the Romanian Banat earthquakes.

Summary: This is a rural type of popular housing practiced by the German (Swabian) colonists in the Austrio-Hungarian Empire of the time. The villages founded by them were located in three different regions of moderate seismicity: the one affected by the Banat earthquakes (encompassing today territories in Romania: Banat, Serbia: Bacska, and Hungary: Bács), the one affected by the earthquakes around lake Balaton (today in Hungary: Dunántul) and the one affected by the Crisana earthquakes or the Maramures earthquakes (today in Romania: Komithat Sathmar).

Historically two variations of this type regarding the functional conformation can be seen: one with the short side to the road and a long wall with no windows on the parcel line (earlier type) and one with long side to the road with windows from the main rooms to it (turn-of-the-century type for wealthy families). The second one could be found in urban environments as well. Contemporary variations of this housing type are still practiced.

A functional particularity is that there is a second kitchen, open to the courtyard, at the end of the house to yard and garden. This one, called “summer kitchen” has only one entrance, from the yard. There is a “winter kitchen” in the main part of the building, forming an ansemble with the other rooms. The “summer kitchen” was sometimes added later on. The load bearing structure consists of masonry walls and timber floors.

Length of time practiced: more than 200 years

Still Practiced: Yes

Building Occupancy: Single dwelling

Typical number of stories: 1

Are buildings of this type typically built on flat or sloped terrain? Flat terrain only

Comments: None

2. Features

Plan Shape: Rectangular

Additional comments on plan shape:

Typical plan length (meters): Not provided

Typical plan width (meters): Not provided

Typical story height (meters): 3.9

Typical span (meters): Not provided

Type of Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced brick masonry walls - Unreinforced brick masonry in mud or lime mortar

Additional comments on structural system: None

Gravity load-bearing & lateral load-resisting systems:

Lateral Load-Resisting System: There are two longitudinal and several transversal unreinforced brick masonry walls in hydraulic lime mortar. All walls have sufficient stiffness to contribute to resisting lateral loads, both in terms of load capacity and deformation. The back longitudinal wall is not common for two neighbouring buildings, which are completely separate structural units. Most of the time two neighbouring buildings are not adjacent, but having their yard-windows to the same cardinal direction. The horizontal structure is made of timber joists overlaid by timber planks and a suspended ceiling made out of mud mortar on slat and cane. The girders are supported by the longitudinal walls.

Gravity Load-Bearing Structure: The floor structure is formed by timber slabs with joists. The roof consists of wood framework.

Typical wall densities in direction 1: Not provided

Typical wall densities in direction 2: Not provided

Additional comments on typical wall densities: None

Wall Openings: Not provided

Is it typical for buildings of this type to have common walls with adjacent buildings?: Not provided

Modifications of buildings: Not provided

Type of Foundation: Not provided

Additional comments on foundation: None

Type of Floor System: Timber - Wood plank, plywood or manufactured wood panels on joists supported by beams or walls

Additional comments on floor system: None

Type of Roof System: Timber - Wood planks or beams that support clay tiles

Additional comments on roof system: None

Additional comments section 2: None

3. Building Process

Description of Building Materials

Structural Element Building Material (s) Comment (s)
Walls clay brick
Roof timber
Floors timber

Design Process

Who is involved with the design process? Not provided

Roles of those involved in the design process: Not provided

Expertise of those involved in the design process: Not provided

Construction Process

Who typically builds this construction type? Other

Roles of those involved in the building process: The builder typically lives in this construction type.

Expertise of those involved in building process: Not provided

Construction process and phasing: Usually it is built by the future owner together with relatives, neighbours. Construction takes place over time (incrementally)

Construction issues: Not provided

Building Codes and Standards

Is this construction type address by codes/standards? Not provided

Applicable codes or standards: Not provided

Process for building code enforcement: Not provided

Building Permits and Development Control Rules

Are building permits required? Yes

Is this typically informal construction? Yes

Is this construction typically authorized as per development control rules? Not provided

Additional comments on building permits and development control rules: None

Building Maintenance and Condition

Typical problems associated with this type of construction: Not provided

Who typically maintains buildings of this type? Owner(s)

Additional comments on maintenance and building condition: None

Construction Economics

Unit construction cost: Information not available.

Labor requirements: Not provided

Additional comments section 3: None

4. Socio-Economic Issues

Patterns of occupancy: 1 units in each building.

Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the day: <5

Number of inhabitants in a typical building of this construction type during the evening/night: <5, 5-10

Additional comments on number of inhabitants: None

Economic level of inhabitants: Not provided

Additional comments on economic level of inhabitants: None

Typical Source of Financing: Owner Financed

Additional comments on financing: None

Type of Ownership: Own outright

Additional comments on ownership: None

Is earthquake insurance for this construction type typically available?: Not provided

What does earthquake insurance typically cover/cost: Not provided

Are premium discounts or higher coverages available for seismically strengthened buildings or new buildings built to incorporate seismically resistant features?: Not provided

Additional comments on premium discounts: None

Additional comments section 4: None

5. Earthquakes

Past Earthquakes in the country which affected buildings of this type

Year Earthquake Epicenter Richter Magnitude Maximum Intensity
1797 Banat 4.7 VII
1784 Maramures 4.4 VI-VII
1829 Crisana 4.7 VII
1786 Transilvania 4.1 VI

Past Earthquakes

Damage patterns observed in past earthquakes for this construction type: All earthquakes listed above and bellow except the last one are taken from the database compiled by Balan et al and found place on Romanian territory that formerly belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (where this kind of buildings can be found). In 1847, 1859, 1879, 1894, 1900 earthquakes of similar intensity with the 1797 one occured in Banat. In 1823 an earthquake with intensity VII and MI 4.7 occurred with the epicentre in Maramures, while in 1830 one with intensity VI and MI 4.1 occurred there. 1831 an earthquake with intensity VI occurred in Maramures, but, different from the previously recorded ones it was of intermediate depth and thus MI was computed to be 5.5. 1870 again an earthquake of normal depth occurred in Maramures, intensity being VI-VII and MI 4.1. 1893 a normal depth earthquake in Maramures of intensity VII resulted in a computed MI of 4.7. An earthquake from 1834 has affected the church of Nagykaroly, a locality situated today in Western Romania, surrounded by villages with houses of this type. The church tower collapsed, as recorded in the church archives. It must have been the 1834 earthquake with epicentre in Crisana, of intensity VIII and computed MI 5.3. Earthquakes with epicentre in Transilvania were found by Balan et al in historical records from 1523 and 1550, but by that time this kind of buildings did not exist. 1786 was the first one to affect this type of constructions. 1880 another earthquake with epicentre in Transylvania occured; this one had an intensity of VII and a computed MI of 4.7. No strong motion records list earthquakes after 1900 in either of this regions in Balan et al nor in the European Strong Motion Database on Romanian territory. On Hungarian territory this kind of constructions have been affected by the 1995 Varpalota earthquake, with M 5.1.

Additional comments on earthquake damage patterns: None

Structural and Architectural Features for Seismic Resistance

Structural/Architectural Feature Statement Seismic Resistance
Lateral load path The structure contains a complete load path for seismic force effects from any horizontal direction that serves to transfer inertial forces from the building to the foundation. TRUE
Building Configuration-Vertical The building is regular with regards to the elevation. (Specify in 5.4.1) TRUE
Building Configuration-Horizontal The building is regular with regards to the plan. (Specify in 5.4.2) TRUE
Roof Construction The roof diaphragm is considered to be rigid and it is expected that the roof structure will maintain its integrity, i.e. shape and form, during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area. FALSE
Floor Construction The floor diaphragm(s) are considered to be rigid and it is expected that the floor structure(s) will maintain its integrity during an earthquake of intensity expected in this area. FALSE
Foundation Performance There is no evidence of excessive foundation movement (e.g. settlement) that would affect the integrity or performance of the structure in an earthquake. TRUE
Wall and Frame Structures-Redundancy The number of lines of walls or frames in each principal direction is greater than or equal to 2. TRUE
Wall Proportions Height-to-thickness ratio of the shear walls at each floor level is: Less than 25 (concrete walls); Less than 30 (reinforced masonry walls); Less than 13 (unreinforced masonry walls);
Foundation-Wall Connection Vertical load-bearing elements (columns, walls) are attached to the foundations; concrete columns and walls are doweled into the foundation.
Wall-Roof Connections Exterior walls are anchored for out-of-plane seismic effects at each diaphragm level with metal anchors or straps. FALSE
Wall Openings The total width of door and window openings in a wall is: 1) for brick masonry construction in cement mortar: less than 1/2 of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; 2) for adobe masonry, stone masonry and brick masonry in mud mortar: less than 1/3 of the distance between the adjacent cross walls; 3) for precast concrete wall structures: less than 3/4 of the length of a perimeter wall.
Quality of Building Materials Quality of building materials is considered to be adequate per the requirements of national codes and standards (an estimate). TRUE
Quality of Workmanship Quality of workmanship (based on visual inspection of a few typical buildings) is considered to be good (per local construction standards). TRUE
Maintenance Buildings of this type are generally well maintained and there are no visible signs of deterioration of building elements (concrete, steel, timber). TRUE

Additional comments on structural and architectural features for seismic resistance: None

Vertical irregularities typically found in this construction type: Not provided

Horizontal irregularities typically found in this construction type: Not provided

Seismic deficiency in walls: Not provided

Earthquake-resilient features in walls: Not provided

Seismic deficiency in frames: Not provided

Earthquake-resilient features in frame: Not provided

Seismic deficiency in roof and floors: Not provided

Earthquake resilient features in roof and floors: Not provided

Seismic deficiency in foundation: Not provided

Earthquake-resilient features in foundation: Not provided

Seismic Vulnerability Rating

For information about how seismic vulnerability ratings were selected see the Seismic Vulnerability Guidelines

High vulnerability Medium vulnerability Low vulnerability
Seismic vulnerability class < 0 >

0 - probable value

< - lower bound

> - upper bound

Additional comments section 5: None

6. Retrofit Information

Description of Seismic Strengthening Provisions

Type of intervention Structural Deficiency Seismic Strengthening

Additional comments on seismic strengthening provisions: None

Has seismic strengthening described in the above table been performed? Not provided

Was the work done as a mitigation effort on an undamaged building or as a repair following earthquake damages? Not provided

Was the construction inspected in the same manner as new construction? Not provided

Who performed the construction: a contractor or owner/user? Was an architect or engineer involved? Not provided

What has been the performance of retrofitted buildings of this type in subsequent earthquakes? Not provided

Additional comments section 6: None

7. References


Name Title Affiliation Location Email
Maria Bostenaru Dan Dipl.-Ing. Institute for Technology & Management in Construction, Universitat of Karlsruhe, Graduate Research Center 450 Am Fasanengarten, Geb 50.31, Room 115, Karlsruhe, 76128 Germany maria.bostenaru@tmb.uni-karlsruhe.de
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