Structural Appraisal of Historic Buildings - AR841

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 30 (15) MR F Incelli







This module explores the structural behaviour of buildings, and examines their response to environmental phenomena. It helps the students to analyse the causes and patterns of damage in a wide range of structures and cultivates a critical understanding of the techniques employed in the repair and strengthening of historic buildings. A combination of lectures and laboratory analysis will help the students to develop an advanced understanding of the properties of building materials and their decay. The module will include lectures on materials such as stone, brick, mortar, timber, iron and concrete. Three of these lectures will be delivered by the conservators of Canterbury cathedral at the Cathedral's conservation workshop. This will constitute an opportunity to observe the methods employed in the conservation of Canterbury cathedral, examining the practical application of a wide range of preservation techniques. The course’s assignment, a structural report on a historic structure in Kent will provide students with an opportunity to test the skills and knowledge gained in the lectures, articulating their findings using the relevant presentation skills.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

36 hours

Method of assessment

Structural Report (100%)

Indicative reading

Ashurst, J. & N., Practical Building Conservation (Vols. 1-5), English Heritage Technical Handbooks, 1988

Ayres, James, Building the Georgian City, Yale, 1998

Beckmann, Paul, Structural Aspects of Building Conservation, MCGraw Hill, 1995

Carbonara, Giovanni, Atlante del restauro, UTET, 2005, ISBN: 9788802061207

Croci, G., The Conservation and Structural Restoration of Architectural Heritage, Computational Mechanics, Southampton, 1998

Forsyth, Michael, Structures and Construction in Historic Building Conservation: Structures and Construction, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007, ISBN-13: 978-1405111713

Gorgon, J. E., Structures: or why things don't fall down, Penguin, 1991

Heyman, Jacques, The Stone Skeleton: Structural Engineering of Masonry Architecture, Cambridge University Press, 1997, ISBN13: 9780521629638

Mainstone, R., Developments in Structural Form, Allen Lane, 1975

Robson, R, Structural Appraisal of Historic Buildings, Gower, 1991

Theodossopoulos, Dimitris, Structural Design in Building Conservation, Taylor & Francis Ltd Routledge, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0415479462

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 A systematic understanding of construction components in historical buildings and their structural behaviour.

8.2 An understanding of the causes of decay, and repair of historic buildings.

8.3 An enhancing of the ability to assess and monitor the condition of buildings, and make proposals for their repair, maintenance, and enhancement.

8.4 Provision of graphic presentation skills employed in structural appraisal and the development of conservation strategies.

9.1 Ability to critically apply theories, research and analysis in order to understand the structural behaviour of a building.

9.2 Ability to investigate and identify the extent and the cause of construction materials' decay, by analysing a wide range of historical documentation and interpreting data from laboratories.

9.3 Ability to develop a structural intervention strategy using appropriate presentation and communication skills.

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