Institute of Structural Mechanics
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History of Institute of Structural Mechanics


The history of the Institute of Structural Mechanics dates back to the foundation of the Czech university of Technology in Brno in 1899. Founders of the school were aware of the fact that the technical education can not get along without theoretical grounds. Therefore, besides the departments of mathematics and physics also the department of general mechanics and hydromechanics were established. The first professor at the institute was Václav Řehořovský. The names and coverage of lectured subjects reflected the potential at that time:

These and other subjects (e.g. Elasticity and Strength) were lectured by prof. Ing. Michal Ursíny at that time together with professor Řehořovský and also after Řehořovský’s death in 1911. Karel Šimek who lectured also Steel structures was promoted to professorship of statics in 1920. After Ursíny’s death in 1933 the position was replaced by prof. Ing. Dr. Ladislav Záruba who lectured also reinforced concrete structures.


After the resettlement of university’s activity in 1945 the education of Structural mechanics was provided by three departments. The active department at the Faculty (formerly branch) of Civil Engineering was, under the leadership of professor Záruba, the institute of Structural mechanics. Later on, the department of mechanics, steel structures and bridges was founded under the leadership of prof. ing. Dr. Ferdinand Lederer, DrSc. In 1951 the Military Academy of Technology was established which resulted in reduction of the University of Technology to University of Civil Engineering. At the Faculty of Architecture the new department of technical mechanics was founded at that time. The department was renamed to Department of building statics and finally to Department of mechanics and building construction. The founder of the department and also the first head was prof. Ing. Dr. Alois Král, dr.h.c. In connection of amalgamation of the Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Civil Engineering were merged in 1960 the Institute of Structural Mechanics was established. Prof. Ing. Dr. Zbyněk Drahoňovský, CSc was named to the position of the head. During 1962–1970 the Institute was chaired by prof. Ing. Dr. Vladimír Kolář, DrSc. The decade during which the Institute was chaired by the two last named professors (who also lectured and function there) can be qualified as an exceptionally successful period of evolution. At that time, the Institute became pedagogically and scholarly widely recognized institute.


At the Institute there was nobody politically suitable to chair the Institute since 1970 and during the period of so-called political normalization. The normalization period negatively influenced also the team: five experienced lecturers had to leave the Institute and also three teachers went into exile. Moreover, under the guise of “personnel reinforcement” some staff enrolled the Institute even without necessary professional experience and profile. As lately as in 1971, Doc. Ing. Jaroslav Čermák, CSc (who was called from the Military Academy of Technoloty) became the head. After his retirement prof. Ing. Jiří Novotný, DrSc was named the head of the Institute.


Prof. Ing. Břetislav Teplý, CSc. headed the Institute during the period of 1990–1999. At that time besides the classical disciplines an increased attention has been paid to education of Finite Element Method, Nonlinear Mechanics and newly established subjects of Reliability of Structures and Fracture Mechanics. Moreover, all basic subjects were taught also in English since 1994. During the coursework of professional and scientific research topics related to structural reliability were pursued and also methodologies of estimation of durability (especially for reinforced concrete structures and considering their gradual degradation). Great attention has been paid to structural treatments in connection with panel buildings’ rehabilitation, dynamic solution of complicated systems and problems of cables structures. Thanks to the new environment, an international cooperation with universities in Innsbruck, Kyoto, Opole, Weimar, Newcastle and Lausanne has been established. Many research projects were granted to the Institute by the Grant agency of Czech Republic, Ministry of Education and others. During 1999–2000 the Institute was headed by Doc. Ing. Alois Materna, CSc.