Michiel Horikx appointed Professor of Structural Safety

New professorship at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences focuses on safety of built environment

24 Sep 2019 09:44 | Centre for Applied Research Technology

Dr Michiel Horikx was appointed professor by special appointment in Structural Safety at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), effective 1 September 2019, . This concerns a new research group that focuses on the safety of buildings and infrastructure; a topical subject in view of the recent collapses of the multi-storey car park in Eindhoven and the roof of the AZ football stadium, and also, for example, the issue of replacing the canal walls in the Amsterdam city centre.

The Structural Safety research group is a joint initiative of the AUAS and the national trade associations Betonvereniging (Concrete Association) and Bouwen met Staal (Building with Steel). The research group makes the fundamental research of universities of technology into sustainable construction materials and production techniques applicable in practice. Michiel Horikx: “Despite tremendous technological progress, structural safety seems less and less obvious. It is imperative to continue to ensure the safety of our buildings. This possibility is afforded by a fundamental understanding of the distribution of forces in combination with an integral approach to the problem, which we are working on within the new professorship.”

“Structural safety is something that concerns us all. It is about human safety in buildings. This is why it is so important to have this professorship now. It enables us to better integrate research, knowledge development and innovation in the continuous track from the Bachelor’s programme to the Master’s programme in Structural Engineering,” says Gerard Kuiper, Built Environment programme manager at the AUAS.

Michiel Horikx's background

Horikx first studied Architectural and later Structural Design at Eindhoven University of Technology and obtained the Dutch title of ingenieur (equivalent to a Master’s degree) in 1983. From 1988 to 1992, he was a conceptual designer and engineering manager of the steel structures – retaining wall, truss arms and ball hinge – of the Maeslant storm surge barrier. Since 1992, Horikx has been employed by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences as a senior lecturer and manager, responsible for the design, implementation and programme management of the Bachelor’s programmes in Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering and the Master’s programme in Structural Engineering.

Long-term research programmes

Within the professorship, various graduates will work on the accumulation of knowledge by building on each other’s research in long-term research programmes. In addition, the professorship will develop current teaching material and aim to professionalise lecturers so that research and education reinforce each other. Michiel Horikx will spend three days a week focusing on the professorship and two days a week on the coordination of and lecturing in our Master's programme in Structural Engineering.

Issue of replacing canal walls

An important subject of research within the professorship concerns the issue of replacing two hundred kilometres of canal walls in Amsterdam. Many of the canal walls are in poor condition. They are subsiding and crumbling, posing a safety hazard. In collaboration with the professional Master’s programmes, researchers and students are investigating possible solutions.

About the Urban Technology research programme

The professorship is part of the Urban Technology research programme of the Faculty of Technology. This programme researches, designs and creates solutions to urban challenges, together with partners from the field on the themes of mobility, the built city, the circular city and energy. In this way, the programme contributes to the sustainable, liveable and economically strong cities of the future. With the appointment of Michiel Horikx as a new professor, the research programme can respond even better to the city’s complex and multidisciplinary challenges.