75428 - Historic Masonry and Wood Structures M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the class, student has knowledge of the fundamentals for the analysis of historical masonry and timber structures, including the knowledge of theoretical aspects, numerical tools and experimental tools for an effective structural diagnosis of historic structures aiming at their conservation or rehabilitation. In particular, at the end of the course he/she is able to identify relevant phenomenology regarding collapse, to design provisional support and to conceive suitable reinforcement of historical building.

Course contents

1. Plastic Analysis

  1. Incremental method to determine the collapse load of statically indeterminate structures

  2. Application of the kinematic and static theorems to determine the collapse load of statically indeterminate structures


2. Fundamentals of Fracture Mechanics

  1. Linear elastic fracture mechanics: stress intensity factor and energy release rate

  2. Quasi-brittle materials: the cohesive model


3. Masonry Strength and Deformability

  1. Tests on mortar and brick (natural and artificial stone) specimens

  2. Formulation of a triaxial failure criterion for stones

  3. Masonry compression strength

  4. Masonry tensile strength

  5. Masonry deformation


4. Statics of Masonry Solids and Structures

  1. No-tension masonry models

  2. The masonry continuum: equilibrium and compatibility

  3. Mechanism and collapse states


5. Arches and Vaulted Structures

  1. Masonry arches: Line of thrust and limit analysis

  2. Domes: membrane state, cracking patterns, brief description of some famous cases

  3. Barrel, polygonal, and cross vaults: membrane state, cracking patterns, brief description of some famous cases

  4. Exercises on collapse mechanisms of arches


6. Piers, Towers, and Gothic Cathedrals

  1. Piers: Compression strength under eccentric loading

  2. Towers: typical cracking patterns

  3. Cathedrals: Historical notes, construction techniques, relevant static problems


7. Timber Properties

  1. Material anisotropy

  2. Moisture and long duration effects

  3. Effects of timber properties on structural analysis and detailing


8.  Timber Structures

  1. Structural typologies of wooden floors, ceilings, and roofs recurring in Italian, European and Asiatic historical buildings

  2. Historical timber buildings

  3. Review of loading formulation: static and seismic loading

  4. Design standards for timber structures

  5. Static design concepts within the limit design approach

  6. Design of structural members: beam, floor diaphragms, trusses


9.  Timber joints

  1. Overview on traditional carpenter connections

  2. Mechanical fastener systems

  3. Design of timber joints and typological details


10.Diagnosis and damage analyses of wood structures

  1. Visual and instrumental inspection techniques and reference standards

  2. Methods for the classification of grade and essence of existing wooden members according to current code guidelines

  3. Damage analysis techniques of existing wooden members, carpenter joints and connections




  • Instructors' hand-outs (available on the web site http://campus.cib.unibo.it ).

  • Fracture and Size Effect (in concrete and other quasibrittle materials), Z.P. Bazant, J. Planas, CRC Press, 1998

  • Statics of Historic Masonry Constructions. M. Como, Springer, 2013.

  • The Stone Skeleton, J. Heyman, Cambridge University Press, 1995.

  • The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals, J. Fitchen , The University of Chicago Press, 1961.

  • Plasticity Theory, J. Lubliner, Dover Edition, 2008.

  • EN 1995-1-1 (2004) (English): Eurocode 5: Design of timber structures - Part 1-1: General - Common rules and rules for buildings

  • Structural Timber Design to Eurocode 5, Jack Porteous, Abdy Kermani Edited by John Wiley & Sons, 2008 ISBN 047069792X

  • Structural Timber Design, Abdy Kermani Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 11, 1998) ISBN: 0632050918

Teaching methods

The course content will be entirely covered by lectures. The course includes laboratory sessions, field trips, and invited keynote lectures, which will help cover some practical aspects of the lectures. The instructors will supervise students during all activities.


Assessment methods

A full comprehensive final (written + oral) exam will be used to assess the knowledge and understanding of the topics covered in the course. In addition, two projects will be assigned. Both projects are related to section 5 of the course content.


Teaching tools

The teaching tools are overhead projector, projector and PC. The course includes some laboratory sessions in which structural analysis software is used. In addition, a model of an arch (which is part of one of the projects) will be constructed in the wood and model laboratory.


Office hours

See the website of Giovanni Castellazzi

See the website of Diego Alejandro Talledo