In the thought of Peter Rice when the architectural design challenges the laws of nature the structure becomes architecture. A research, developed at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Catania, has proposed a reinforced masonry that is built with blocks of natural stone. The results obtained about different aspects related to the building procedure (construction, structural, thermal and environmental aspects) has shown good performances of reinforced masonry built with natural stone. The present paper regards a new phase of research finalized to appraise characteristics of prestressed masonry built with natural stone. This paper shows the contribution that prestressed masonry built with basalt offers in architectural design through comparisons of not reinforced masonry, reinforced and prestressed masonry panels built with stone blocks. The obtained results show that pretensioning action allows to compensate both the cutting stress that arises in the horizontal elements and the seismic stresses and it allows to built without some limitations for thickness, thinness and restraint conditions.
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