Journal of Seismology

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 497–510 | Cite as

Modelling methods of historic masonry buildings under seismic excitation

  • M. Mistler
  • C. Butenweg
  • K. Meskouris


Historic masonry buildings in seismically active regions are severely damaged by earthquakes, since they certainly have not been explicitly designed by the original builders to withstand seismic effects, at least not in a ‘scientific’ way from today’s point of view. The assessment of their seismic safety is an important first step in planning the appropriate interventions for improving their pertinent resistance. This paper presents a procedure for assessing the seismic safety of historic masonry buildings based on measurements of their natural frequencies and numerical simulations. The modelling of the brittle nonlinear behaviour of masonry is carried out on the macro-level. As an example, a recently completed investigation of the seismic behaviour of the Aachen Cathedral is given, this being the first German cultural monument to be included in the UNESCO cultural heritage list in 1978. Its construction goes back to the 9th century a.d. and it is considered as one of the finest examples of religious architecture in Central Europe. The investigation is based on measurements of the natural frequencies at different positions and numerical simulations using a detailed finite element model of the Cathedral.

Key words

Aachen Cathedral earthquake historic masonry numerical simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Structural Statics and DynamicsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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