Bruneau receives ASCE’s Raymond C. Reese Research Prize

Award recognizes research that impacts structural engineering design practice

Michel Bruneau's research has been implemented in the latest editions of the AISC and CSA design provisions, which are widely used for the seismic design of steel structures throughout North America.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published July 28, 2016

Michel Bruneau, a professor in UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and Ronny Purba (PhD 2013, MS 2006), assistant professor of civil engineering at the Universitas Bandar Lampung in Indonesia, are the recipients of the Raymond C. Reese Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Established in 1970, the Reese Prize is awarded to the author or authors of a paper that describes a notable achievement in research related to structural engineering, and that indicates and recommends how the research can be applied to design practice.

The paper describes research that investigates the potential for collapse and seismic performance of steel-plate shear walls with infill plates designed according to two different design strategies. The results led to specific recommendations on how to distribute story shear between a wall’s infill plate and its boundary frame.  This substantively resolved a question for which there had been much disagreement in the literature.  The design recommendations from this paper have since been implemented in the latest editions of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) design provisions, which are used for the seismic design of steel structures across North America.

Entitled “Seismic Performance of Steel Plate Shear Walls Considering Two Different Design Philosophies of Infill Plates. II: Assessment of Collapse Potential,” the paper appeared in the June 2015 edition of the Journal of Structural Engineering.

Bruneau’s research includes the evaluation and retrofit of existing steel bridges and buildings subjected to large destructive forces up to collapse, as well as the development of new design concepts capable of providing satisfactory seismic resistance, blast resistance, or both simultaneously as multi-hazard resistant concepts.

While his research on ductile steel plate shear walls over the past 15 years has generated new knowledge and multiple design recommendations similarly implemented in design specifications, his research has also more broadly encompassed contributions to the development and large-scale experimental validation of various other energy-dissipating design concepts to enhance the resilience of structures against extreme events, such as  ductile bridge diaphragms, tubular eccentrically braced frames, structural fuses and controlled-rocking piers.  

Some of his innovative design concepts have been implemented in structures worldwide, such as in the $1B temporary supports of the new San-Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge East Span, and in a 56-story high-rise being designed in Seattle.

Bruneau is an ASCE Fellow, a member of various AISC and CSA committees tasked with developing design specifications for bridges and buildings, and has conducted numerous reconnaissance visits to disaster stricken areas.  He also served as Director (2003-2008) and Deputy Director (1998-2003) of UB’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER).  

He has authored or co-authored over 500 publications, including more than 140 referred journal papers, 230 papers in conference proceedings, and three fiction books. In particular, he is the lead author of “Ductile Design of Steel Structures,” which is widely used by structural engineers worldwide and considered as an important reference for the seismic design of steel structures.  He has received several awards for his technical work, as well as for his novels.

Bruneau’s past service to the profession includes participation in expert peer review panels, project advisory committees, special project design teams, conference advisory committees and journal editorial boards. Prior to his appointment in academia, he practiced as a consultant for architecture and engineering firms Morrison Hershfield Limited (Toronto), and Buckland and Taylor (Vancouver).

He received his PhD in structural engineering with a specialization in earthquake resistant design from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987.