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Title: Robustness: The quality Ribera missed in 1905

Author(s): Eduardo Díaz-Pavón Cuaresma, Javier León González, Jorge Ley Urzáiz

Publication: ACHE

Volume: 68

Issue: 283

Appears on pages(s): 171 - 183

Keywords: Robustness, Third Reservoir, Vaults, Collapse


Date: 9/1/2017

On April 8th 1905 the roof of the 3rd reservoir of the Canal de Isabel II in Madrid collapsed, being one of the most disastrous accidents that have occurred in the history of Spanish construction: 30 people died and 60 were injured. At the time, the event was subject to great speculation and investigation, both in the engineering society as well as in the court of law. Despite this, there were no convincing conclusions as to the cause of such a disaster. As far as the scope of this article is concerned, this collapse serves as a great example of the disproportionate consequences a lack of structural robustness can have. Modern codes contain specific requirements for which compliance is believed to implicitly guarantee a robust design. However, such requirements were not accounted for by the designer José Eugenio Ribera, one of Spain's leading civil engineers. As a result, a single defect in execution could lead to disastrous consequences.

ACI International Partner, ACHE Spain, International Partner Access

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