Retrospective of the Anniversary event – 66 Years Geotechnik Schweiz «A Tale of Two Towers – Pisa and Big Ben»

Around 80 people attended the anniversary event on 2 September 2021 at the historical building “zur Schmiden” in Zurich. The venue, centrally located in Zurich, was dignified, the aperitif excellent and the lecture by Prof. Burland via Zoom very interesting.

His lecture explained various groundbreaking aspects in geotechnics:

  • Planning and implementation of measures to stabilise the Pisa Tower.
  • Planning of construction measures and prognosis of deformations and inclinations of Big Ben in the course of the Jubilee line extension in London
  • Development of numerical calculation models for better prediction of settlements and deformations
  • Calibration of computational models based on measurement results
  • Development of new theories for numerical modelling (e.g. Cam-Clay) and for the stability of slender structures on soft soils (Leaning Instability).

Prof. Burland’s comments, developments and findings are of great importance to the professional community, to academic institutions, to students and to young or experienced engineers.

Prof. Burland has made extensive contributions to the principles and application of soil mechanics, first at Cambridge University, then as Head of the Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Assistant Director of the Building Research Establishment, and later as Head of the Department of Soil Mechanics at Imperial College. His research includes the development of critical state theory, field measurements of the deformation of geological strata, precision methods for measuring small strains in laboratory tests and a synthesis of the mechanical properties of sedimentary deposits. His knowledge and expertise are widely recognised and he has been involved in many important engineering projects abroad since the early 1970s, including the stabilisation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.