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Event Organiser: ICE

Analysis and repair of the gothic tower of Freiburg Minster, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 30 April 2018
  • 18:30 - 20:45
Analysis and repair of the gothic tower of Freiburg Minster, London

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The filigree spire of the 116 meter high west tower of Freiburg Minster in Germany was completed around 1330 AD and is an architectural monument of the highest rank. At 45m high and constructed using tracery throughout, the spire is the tallest of its kind ever built. It has survived until the present without major damage or alteration. In 2010, after several flaws in the sandstone were detected, a detailed damage survey and a structural analysis were initiated.

This lecture, based on the award-winning paper, will provide a description of the construction of the spire, the damaged sections that were detected, the material tests and statical calculations undertaken and the implementation of repair measures.

Delegates will hear how:

  • A 3D digital model, showing all structural elements, historical alterations and damage, played a particularly important role in understanding the construction and the statical behavior of the spire
  • Wind tunnel measurements and a series of material tests were conducted to ensure a realistic estimation of the stability under wind and seismic load

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session and a complimentary drinks reception.


18:30 Registration and refreshments
19:00 Welcome from the Chair
19:05 Main lecture
19:45 Questions and answers session 
20:05 Summation from the Chair
20:10 Drinks Reception
20:45 Finish


Richard Harris, Chair

Richard Harris

In January 2016, Richard Harris retired from his role as Professor of Timber Engineering at in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath.

After graduating from the University of Bristol in 1972, his career started in civil engineering construction, working on projects that included underground railways and a power station. In 1984 he joined Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, where, over a period of twenty-five years, he led structural engineering design teams, working on a range of structures in differing sectors and using differing construction methods and materials. In his 10 years at the University of Bath, his research included timber gridshell structures, tall timber buildings, the structural properties of UK timber, traditional joints in timber, timber-concrete composites, FRP dowels in connection is timber and bonded rods.

As Honorary Professor, he continues working with the academics at the University, particularly within the BRE Centre for Innovative Materials, as well as providing consulting, teaching and research through Time for Timber Ltd. He chairs the editorial panel for the Institution of Civil Engineers Journal “Engineering History and Heritage”.

Rainer Barthel

Rainer Barthel

Rainer Barthel is a structural engineer. Since 1993 he is Chair of the Structural Design at the Faculty of Architecture, Technical University of Munich and since 1996 - partner at Barthel & Maus Beratende Ingenieure GmbH, Munich. The main focus of the office’s projects and research is the assessment, analysis and strengthening of historical buildings.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

ICE Events Team

e: [email protected]