The Karibe hotel, a premier luxury resort in the affluent Haiti suburb of Pétion-Ville, was rocked by the M7.0, Port-au-Prince earthquake in January 2010. For lack of a better lateral force resisting system, the hollow clay masonry tile partition walls of the four-story hotel and conference facility absorbed the seismic demand by shattering under the high shear demands. The sheer volume of the hollow clay tile walls was this building’s saving grace from total collapse, but this brittle form of seismic resistance is highly unreliable.
As a result, the owner asked Miyamoto to upgrade the building. The building was retrofitted by removing discreet segments of hollow clay tile wall and replacing it with ductile reinforced concrete shear walls. After the upgrade, the owner engaged Miyamoto to design the adjacent nine-level hotel and restaurant facility addition. This reinforced concrete masonry building was built to span over an escarpment and down the slope, with foundations two to three meters below the finished floor to ensure stability in the event of a seismically induced slope failure.