The study of the seismic behaviour of masonry structures is of fundamental and strategic importance for two main reasons. On the one hand, the use of masonry for the construction of new buildings in Italy and, to a larger extent, in foreign countries is far from being marginal due to its growing technical-economical competitiveness (currently in Italy approximately 10% of new residential buildings is realised with loadbearing masonry, but significantly higher percentages can be found in other European and non-European countries). On the other hand, the problem of the seismic protection of masonry buildings involves a large and highly vulnerable portion of the existing building stock and it also involves the protection of the cultural heritage of the country. Despite the numerous researches and advances made in recent years in Italy and abroad, still countless open problems exist in the field of design criteria and building technologies for new masonry buildings, safety assessment of existing structures, effective and affordable techniques for the reduction of their seismic vulnerability, availability of adequate and reliable design/assessment codes/guidelines. The recent reformulation of the Italian code framework for structures, (started with the OPCM 3274/3431 and later evolved in the 2008 national building code), has introduced new criteria for the safety check of masonry buildings, which are quite advanced in their acknowledgement of the most recent research studies, also thanks to the contribution of Eucentre.
The activities carried out at Eucentre have the goal of developing and complementing, through experimental, numerical and theoretical research, the knowledge in the topics of greater practical relevance for masonry constructions in seismic areas, and providing consultancy in the development of effective technologies for anti-seismic applications and for protection of the architectural heritage.
The research activities are always carried out in close collaboration with the University of Pavia and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Pavia, whether in internal projects, whether in co-operative programmes with other national and international institutions, or within specific research or consulting activities carried out for public or private, industrial or professional partners.