Earthquake tragedies, such as those in Japan and Lorca, Spain in 2011, demonstrate that even the most prepared and alert urban territories could be seriously affected by the strike of a large earthquake and its many implications. Even the strongest construction materials, such as reinforced concrete, become vulnerable because of the scourge of the seismic wave. Although, a lot of investigations study the mechanical properties of concrete material and retrofitting techniques for reinforced concrete (RC) structures, there isn’t significant research about RC structural system and its seismic adaptation. This preoccupation guided Architect Wilfredo Méndez (AIT) to propose his Master of architecture thesis, "Principles of a Biotectonic Culture," at the School of Architecture, University of Puerto Rico.
The thesis is a structural design guide based on principles of biological adaptation for reinforced concrete morphologies. Using biomimicry as the theoretical platform, Wilfredo sought to define structural design strategies that reduce the seismic vulnerability of RC structures. He used Puerto Rico as his case study because the geographical similarity to many other territories in the Caribbean and Latin America.