A special seminar took place at the Politecnico di Milano to honour Professor Luigia Binda who is an international authority on state of the art masonry research.  Over the last 25 years, she has created a research group working on Architectural Heritage in the Department of Structural Engineering. 

Her area of expertise in the field of preservation and structural restoration of historic buildings includes in-situ and laboratory experimental investigation for the evaluation of the mechanical and physical damage of masonry structures, limit analysis of masonry structures, effects of the chemical-physical alteration in the mechanical behaviour and in the durability of masonry, long term behaviour of masonry under constant and cyclic loads, study of the seismic/vulnerability of historic masonry buildings.

Her work is internationally renown; she has participated in consulting work all over the world; organised post-graduate courses and PhD programmes in structural restoration of masonry structures.

Professor Binda contributed to the development of European Standards and worked in close association with RILEM as well as other international institutions.  Among her many awards and recognitions, she received in 2007 the Wessex Institute of Technology’s Medal for outstanding scientific work during the STREMAH (Structural Repairs and Maintenance of Heritage Architecture) Conference held in Prague.  In 2008, WIT Press – the publishing arm of the Institute – published Luigia’s very successful book “Learning from Failure” which presented the State of the Art in Heritage Masonry Research and Applications.

Several well-known scientists contributed with special lectures during the Symposium, ie:

  • “On the seismic vulnerability of historic centres” by Claudio Modena, University of Padova, Italy
  • “The mechanics of three-leaf masonry before and after grouting” by Eli Vintzileou, Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • “Pull-over analysis of historic masonry buildings; can we really do it?” by Paulo Lourenço, University of Minho, Portugal
  • “A probabilistic approach to study the decay processes of porous building materials” by Chiara Molina, Politecnico di Milano
  • “Non standard testing of historic and conservation materials” by Milos Drdacky, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
  • “Masonry more than just brick or stone” by Rob van Hees, TNO Built Environment Division
  • “Simple equilibrium model for the analysis of shear walls” by Pere Roca, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
  • “Diagnostic testing and modelling of dry block masonry” by Dina D’ayala, University of Bath
  • “Historic masonry buildings and seismic resistance.  What did we learn?” by Minha Tomazevic, Slovenia National Building and Civil Engineering Institute
  • “Out-of-plane capacity of masonry walls depending on the structural arrangement of stones” by Gianmarco de Felice, University Roma Tre
  • “Impact of modelling architectural details for predicting unreinforced masonry subsidence damage” by Debra Larfen, University College, Dublin
  • “The method of investigation on monuments; an interdisciplinary collaboration” by Maurizio Buriani, Politecnico di Milano.
There were several gifts from participants, including an antique map given to Luigia in recognition of her collaboration with WIT over a long time and for her help in making a success of the STREMAH Conference in which she has participated for a long time.  The map is ca 1700 by Joannes Jansonius, and was presented by Carlos Brebbia, who referred to the Institute as being proud to have published her recent very successful book “Learning from Failure”.  Carlos hoped that this collaboration would continue to grow in the next few years.