StonePanels International LLC

Japanese Earthquake Reconstruction and Stone for Building Renovation

The earthquake and tsunami that struck the nation of Japan in March of this year not only shook the foundations of Japanese buildings, it shook the foundation of the country. As a result, Engineering News-Record and AsiaPulse News have reported that Japan is projecting quake reconstruction spending at $293 billion.

When devastating events such as earthquakes occur, it is an opportunity for us to look at how we can learn from what has happened. As we rebuild, we have an opportunity to incorporate newer and better technologies, systems and standards into our buildings.

Where our humble company plays a role in this much larger picture is our lightweight engineered stone systems.  Our lightweight stone cladding product can improve the resiliency of Japanese buildings affected by the March 11 earthquake, whether our systems are being incorporated as stone for building renovation or rebuild.

Unlike dimensional stone (which is extremely brittle and can withstand minimal structural movement), lightweight stone cladding is very flexible and can move with the structure. As an example, buildings in San Francisco with lightweight engineered stone systems experienced no cladding damage following the 1989 earthquake.

As another example, the largest market for our lightweight stone cladding product is the state of Alaska. Being in a seismic zone four, the flexibility of our lightweight engineered stone systems was a big consideration JL Tower in Anchorage, Alaska and Principal of RIM Architects Rolland Reid.

Whether the great nation of Japan and its builders are looking for stone for building renovation or rebuild, we are excited to see the number of ways that this resilient country and its people improve upon their already impressive architecture and incorporate newer and better systems.