UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Crests and Troughs: Structural assessment of Victorian lighthouses

29 October 2020, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

Photo shows Walton Lighthouse in Santa Cruz, California, during sunrise.

Thank you to everyone that joined us for this virtual guest lecture - the webinar is now available to watch in full below.

This event is free.

Event Information

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UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


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Watch the virtual lecture

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About the lecture

Lighthouses on hostile and exposed rocks around the British Isles and Ireland have been resisting the impacts of extreme waves for almost two centuries. The design of these unique landmarks of engineering has evolved empirically learning from collapses of under-designed structures. Most of the surviving rock-mounted lighthouses all evolved from the ingenious design proposed by John Smeaton. Notwithstanding modern positioning technology, rock mounted lighthouses remain very relevant to present shipping and navigation, as they still fulfil their role as lifesaving beacons. However changing climate and sea level rise pose a new threat to their feature.

The talk will illustrate work developed within the STORMLAMP, an EPSRC sponsored project in collaboration with Plymouth University and Exeter University, which aims to support management of lighthouses’ structural conditions for the next two centuries. In particular the talk will discuss the process and associated uncertainties in determining the lighthouses geometry and construction details from historic archives, in choosing the relevant numerical tools to represent and assess their behaviour, in establishing current and future magnitude of wave impact. These concepts will be illustrated with reference to a specific case study.

Virtual event details

This virtual lecture will consist of a 45 minute presentation from Dina D'Ayala, followed by a 15 minute Q&A chaired by Dr Josep Grau-Bove.

About the speaker

Prof Dina D’Ayala is the Professor of Structural Engineering at University College London, within the Department of Civil Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. She is head of Civil Engineering and Co-Director of the EPICentre. She is a director of the International Association of Earthquake Engineers, Fellow of the ICE, and a Getty Conservation Institute Scholar. Her specialism is Structural Resilience Engineering with particular emphasis on the assessment, strengthening, preservation and resilience of existing buildings, structures, transport infrastructure and cultural heritage. She has 25 years’ experience working with international agencies and Heritage Institutions to assess and preserve architectural heritage worldwide.