Gabion Boxes

Requested Research

  • Main request. An analysis of the seismic behavior of gabion box walls, structures and buildings in earthquake zones.
  • A literature research on gabion boxes in general, and more specifically on their seismic behavior. As well as an analysis of previously built projects in Haiti and Morocco.
  • An overview of all factors influencing the seismic behavior of this technique, in terms of configuration, dimensions, wall composition, detailing, reinforcements and such.
  • Determination of all variables, design limitations and margins that are needed to fully assess and test this technique.
  • Design, development and structural analysis of a gabion box model house for a French aid organization, to be built in Nepal.

Status of Research

Open for students and professionals of Civil, Structural and Earthquake Engineering. Send us an email to request the full assignment sheet via this link.

Past and current research:
2015 – 2016: Julio Samayoa, University of Bologna in Italy

Background: Gabion Boxes

The use of gabion boxes as retaining walls and structures is not new and can be seen in many mountainous areas, such as in Nepal. Big nets of galvanized steel are woven on the spot and assembled into boxed shaped shells. These are placed and stacked, while being filled with boulders, for example to strengthen an unstable slope.

Building houses with these large and heavy elements is still in a highly experimental stage. We can see the advantages of fast construction and cost-saving in reconstruction efforts, but we hardly know anything about how they behave in earthquakes.

This assignment is developed with our Partner Architecture & Développement from France. They have built several prototypes of gabion box houses in Morocco, but in an area without any earthquake risk. Their aim is to develop a similar concept for the reconstruction effort in Nepal, and here of course they must be earthquake resistant.

So this is the key of this research; to determine the seismic behavior of gabion box structures and develop a model house design for Nepal. Some points of focus are the connections between the gabions, horizontal reinforcements of sorts, and dissemination of seismic forces by the dry-stacked stones inside the cages.