Analysis of a scaled stone masonry facade subjected to differential settlements

Giorgia Giardina, Alessandra Marini, Paolo Riva, Ezio Giuriani

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Historical masonry structures are vulnerable to differential settlements of the ground. This vulnerability is potentially higher for historic buildings on wooden pile foundations, which can have their bearing capacity reduced by material deterioration. In order to protect such buildings from the effect of soil subsidence it is therefore essential assessing their response to settlements. The aim of this paper is to investigate the settlement-induced damage on a stone masonry façade. For the first time, experimental testing and computational analyses were performed on a scaled model of a specific existing historic structure, the Loggia palace in Brescia, Italy. Differential settlements were applied to dry blocks and mortar joints models of the façade. Experimental results showed the capability of the façade to reach a new equilibrium configuration following the subsidence of two adjacent columns. This approach can be used to assess the behaviour of similar structures. The validated numerical model confirms the interpretation of the failure mechanism and has the potential to allow extending the approach to a wider range of settlement and structural scenarios, as well as to different buildings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019


  • Cracking
  • damage assessment
  • differential settlements
  • experimental testing
  • masonry
  • numerical modelling
  • physical modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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