Seismic Design, Assessment and Retrofit of Masonry Structures

Institution: DICAR (UNIPV)

Term: 1st Semester – Academic Year 2018-2019

Instructor: Guido Magenes ( [+ a tutor, TBA]

CFU: 6

SSD: ICAR/09 Tecnica delle costruzioni – Structural Engineering

Duration: 4 weeks (50 hrs lectures + 20 hrs tutoring)

Schedule: TBA

Office hours: by appointment


The goal of the course is to provide an introduction to materials, construction practices, structural behavior, analytical methods, and typical code requirements for the seismic design of new masonry buildings and the seismic evaluation and retrofit/rehabilitation of existing ones.


Theoretical lectures will be complemented by tutorials (aiming at the practical application of the concepts and methods developed during the lectures) and the topics that will be discussed in the course are reported in the following.

Course contents: Introduction to masonry construction, historical overview. Properties of masonry materials: brick, block, stone, mortar, grout and reinforcement. Mechanics of masonry in compression: failure theories, compressive strength, elastic modulus. Behavior of masonry walls subjected to lateral forces and their role in building structural systems excited by vertical, by wind and by earthquake loading. Unreinforced masonry walls: vertical and transverse loadings, failure mechanisms, capacity models. Masonry building systems: overall conception and layout, analysis under vertical and under horizontal loading; role of floor diaphragms. Linear vs. nonlinear analysis. Reinforced masonry walls and buildings: behaviour, design, detailing of reinforcement. Confined masonry. Assessment and rehabilitation of existing masonry buildings: discussion of the main features of existing building stocks, sources of vulnerability, knowledge and survey of the structure, methods of analysis, performance criteria. Strategies and techniques for seismic rehabilitation/retrofitting.


Knowledge of the basis of reinforced concrete mechanics and design; fundamentals of structural analysis, of structural dynamics and of earthquake engineering


  • Handouts and scientific papers made available during the course
  • T.Paulay and M.J.N.Priestley, Seismic design and assessment of reinforced concrete and masonry buildings, Chapter 7, John Wiley and Sons, 1997
  • R. Drysdale and A. Hamid, Masonry Structures: Behavior and Design, 3rd ed., The Masonry Society, 2008.
  • M. Tomaževič, Earthquake resistant design of masonry buildings,  Imperial College Press, London, 1999.
  • A.W. Hendry, Structural Masonry, 2nd ed., Palgrave Macmillan,  1998


Assignments will be handed over and graded during the course. The final examination will consist of a written test (with a closed-book section and an open-book section). Grading: 40% assignments, 60% final exam.