The main topics of the conference include:

  • Innovation and sustainability of masonry 
  • New construction techniques/ technologies 
  • Quality assurance 
  • Architecture with masonry 
  • Analysis of masonry structures 
  • Masonry materials and testing 
  • Design 
  • Resilience
  • Reliability and performance 
  • Masonry and building physics, durability and deterioration
  • Codes and standards 
  • Fire resistance 
  • Repair, strengthening and retrofitting
  • Training and education in masonry 
  • Conservation of historic buildings 
  • Earthen construction / Stone construction / Timber construction
  • Climate change
  • AI and masonry
  • Low carbon solutions
  • Novel modelling or testing techniques
  • Case studies   

Special sessions

SP1. Safety evaluation and retrofit of masonry bridges

Organisers: Prof. Andrea Benedetti (University of Bologna), Prof. Antonio Brencich (University of Genova), Prof. Adrienn Tomor (University College London).

Masonry and stone bridges encompass several favourable characteristics: they fit very well with the environment, have very pleasant architectural forms, are made of sustainable materials and perform very well in case of seismic shocks. In fact, the literature on seismic collapses of masonry bridges is very small and concerns only small stocky bridges. However, the cyclic load repetitions, the environmental actions and the river full floods can lead to degradation of the construction materials, and in particular of the mortar. Therefore, most of the old masonry bridges have undergone several mortar repointings and block substitutions. Performing a safety evaluation of a masonry bridge thus involves several different skills: evaluating the 3D geometry and texture of the body, extracting the relevant mechanical properties, working out a sensible numerical model and finally defining the possible collapse forms under the selected external actions. Normally, if the safety level is not sufficient, it is necessary to imagine suitable interventions which could respect the historical value of the bridge and try to evaluate their effects in terms of the performance of the strengthened structure. However, very often analyses are mainly focused on detecting the damaged state of the bridge or on exploiting a numerical model capable of interpreting the near-collapse states, without a connection between the two realms. This min symposium is therefore intended to present stories of integration of the different disciplines that can lead to a deeper knowledge of the artworks including geometric reconstruction, non-destructive testing, static and dynamic condition assessment, model preparation and testing, ways to introduce in the analysis the effect of the designed repair intervention. This could transfer to engineering practice a useful meta-design philosophy toward a more sustainable masonry bridge management.

SP2. Structural masonry buildings under fire situation

Organisers: Prof. Cristian Maluk (University of Queensland), Prof. Guilherme Parsekian (Federal University of Sao Carlos), Prof. Armando Lopes Moreno Junior (University of Campinas), Prof. Roberto Marcio Silva (Federal University of Minas Gerais).

The behaviour of structures under fire situations is a major concern in building design. Although historical masonry has a long history of excellent performance, there are still some gaps in understanding and defining the performance of modern structural masonry buildings under fire situations. The session is dedicated to advancing the knowledge on the topic, covering aspects of mortar, grout, prism and block properties under high temperatures and the behaviour of walls under fire.

SP3. Performances and design of reinforced concrete masonry walling systems under different loading conditions

Organisers: Prof. Julian Thamboo (South Eastern University of Sri Lanka), Prof. Tatheer Zahra (Queensland University of Technology).

Reinforced concrete masonry walling method is a popular construction method in several countries around the world. Conventional steel reinforcement bars are used to reinforce the concrete masonry walls in this construction systems, therefore the performance of reinforced concrete masonry is considered to be similar to reinforced concrete walls. However, there are distinct different between these two walling systems as due to the anisotropy of masonry, internal grouting and interaction between them. Extensive studies have been dedicated over last four decades to understand the behaviour of Reinforced concrete masonry walls under different stress states, and rational guidelines are given in Australian, Canadian and American masonry design standards. Yet, recent developments in designing reinforced concrete walls demand further investigation on the design approaches specified to determine the axial capacities, out-of-plane instability, slenderness limits, and ductility of reinforced concrete masonry walls. The scope of the session will cover following topics relevant to reinforced concrete masonry and but not limited to axial capacity and slenderness limits, out-of-plane behaviour, seismic performance of reinforced concrete masonry, ductility of walls, and design methods.
SP4. New building components and retrofit techniques based on natural fibres for resilient and sustainable constructions.

Organisers: Prof. Antonion Formisano (University of Napels Federico II), Prof. Massimiliano Gioffre (University of Perugia), Prof. Francesco Clementi (Polytechnic University of Marche).

Ancient masonry buildings cover the largest part of the built heritage of our countries. These constructions are usually much vulnerable to seismic actions and do not comply with safety standards in terms of energy efficiency. For these reasons, the efforts of the scientific community in the past years were directed toward effective retrofitting measures that can reduce their seismic vulnerability, improving at the same time their environmental impact. Within this framework, integrated design methods were also developed to attain, with one unique solution, the targets related to both seismic and thermal retrofitting. In addition, the building market recently proposed new sustainable products to improve the energy benefits of new constructions, but without seismic prerequisites. 

Strating from these premises, the proposed Special Session addresses the topic of sustainability in new masonry buildings and in remediation, retrofit and seismic upgrading of historic structures. The aim is to collect novel eco-compatible solutions for building products and the different sustainable rehabilitation techniques diffused worldwide to improve the seismic-energy performances of existing masonry buildings. On one hand these novel solutions preserve the structures for future generations, being reversible and having the least impact in altering the architectural and heritage values, and on the other hand, their sustainable value allows to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. Therefore, the Special Session will mainly collect manuscripts on the use of natural vegetal and animal fibres, i.e. under form of either Textile Reinforcement Mortar (TRM) or Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP), for seismic retrofitting purposes, or novel products having integrated structural-thermal features for new buildings.