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Next-generation green structures for natural disaster-proof buildings

Project supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, grant number US23GR15.

Italian unit

University of Salerno
Scientific Responsable: Ada Amendola, Associate Professor (adaamendola1@unisa.it)

United States unit

University of Colorado, Boulder
Scientific Responsable: Massimo Ruzzene, Full Professor (massimo.ruzzene@colorado.edu)

Project description

The project “Next-generation structures for natural disaster-proof buildings” (NEXTBUILDING) develops the next generation of architecture structural systems for use in natural hazard-proof buildings. This combination of sustainable engineering, tensegrity structures and mechanical metamaterials trail blazes radically new science-enabled technology solutions for different building components (façade and core-structures; seismic isolators). The final goal is to create next-generation meta-buildings that are protected against seismic waves, high winds and flooding. The buildings of the future must demonstrate enhanced sustainability and structural resilience to natural hazards like earthquakes, storm winds, floods and tsunami. This project applies sustainable engineering concepts and techniques to metamaterials, biomimetic and bioinspired materials to achieve such goals. The proposed research develops innovative structural systems that fuse green building philosophy with natural hazards engineering. The project is articulated across two main workpackages / WP (BRACE and ISOLATE), investigated through the design, manufacturing, and testing of demonstrative prototypes. ISOLATE develops bio-inspired, sustainable seismic “metaisolators” that protect buildings from earthquakes and flooding. The aim of the BRACE WP is to develop lightweight bracing devices for use in wind-resistant core structures, belt trusses and outriggers, designed through fractal geometry. NEXTBUILDING is a consortium in which blue-sky engineering research and high-tech industrial actors work in a synergistic manner. It includes 7 partners: 5 from academic institutions: UNISA, Univ. Colorado Boulder (CU), Univ. of Catania (UNICT), Univ. California Irvine (UCI), and Georgia Tech (GT); and 2 industrial partners: NEWMATT srl and VESTRUT srl. It will foster a generation of young researchers with multidisciplinary civil, mechanical and environmental engineering skills.


  • Participation on the “75th NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo 2023”, May 30 th – June 2nd 2023, Washington, DC.

NAFSA (Association of International Educators) is the largest association in the world dedicated to education and international exchange.

Thousands of professionals from all over the world participated in the event and had the opportunity to illustrate their latest innovations, proven strategies and best practices in education and research. The NAFSA event was also a plataform for several sessions with international education leaders and changemakers from around the world, addressing topics such as professional development, research and career advancement, multigenerational perspective , as well as the importance of inclusive internationalization on local and global communities.

The Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Salerno (UNISA) participated in the event illustrating the educational offer of the Degree Courses and Doctoral Courses in “Environmental, Mobility and Infrastructure Engineering the Territory” and “Structural Engineering, Architecture and Historical, Architectural and Landscape Heritage”.

The UNISA delegation was formed by prof. Claudio Guarnaccia, by PhD students Valentina Adinolfi and Aurora Mascolo.

UNISA delegation, from the right: Valentina ADINOLFI, Claudio GUARNACCIA, Aurora MASCOLO.

UNISA delegation with Mariangela Zappia (Italian Ambassador to the United States) and Marco Gilli (Full Professor, former Rector of the Polytechnic University of Turin).

UNISA delegation with Francesco Guarascio (First Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation), Alessandro Gonzales (Minister Plenipotentiary), Marco Gilli.

  • Research visit at the University of Colorado, Boulder, May 2023, Boulder, CO.

During the month of May 2023, UNISA Post-doc Andrea di Filippo carried out a research visit at University of Colorado, Boulder, collaborating with Professor Amelia Celoza on the use of BIM methodology for the documentation and management of the existing built heritage, mainly using a scan-to-BIM approach.

UNISA Post-Doc: Andrea DI FILIPPO at UC Boulder

  • Research visit at the California Institute of Technology, August 2023, Pasadena, CA.

Continuing a long-standing collaboration on the field of innovative metamaterials, Professor Fernando Fraternali, from UNISA, visited the Laboratory of Professor Chiara Daraio, from the California Institute of Technology.

Professor Fernando FRATERNALI at Caltech

  • Research visit at the University of California, Irvine, August-September 2023, Irvine, CA.

During the months of August and September 2023, Professor Fernando Fraternali and the PhD student Julia de Castro Motta, from UNISA, carried out a research visit at University of California, Irvine, collaborating with Professor Julian Rimoli’s research group. The team from UNISA and UCI developed a joint study about wave propagation on innovative tensegrity metamaterials.

UNISA PhD student: Julia DE CASTRO MOTTA at UC Irvine

  • Participation on the Engineering Mechanics Institute 2023 International Conference, August 27-30, Palermo.

The PhD students Valentina Adinolfi (UNISA) and Baidehi Das (UNICT, UNISA) presented their projects on the EMI Conference 2023. Valentina Adinolfi presented a study with title “A multiscale approach to design of seismic metaisolators”, while Baidehi Das did her presentation “On the use of fractal geometry for the design of tensegrity braces”.


  • GERMANO, G., QADERI, S., ADINOLFI, V., DE CASTRO MOTTA, J., BENZONI, G., AMENDOLA, A., RUZZENE, M., FRATERNALI, F. Design and modeling of an in-house-built shake table setup for testing prototypes of innovative seismic isolators INGEGNERIA SISMICA/INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING, 40(1), 58-73, 2023.
  • FRATERNALI, F.; DE CASTRO MOTTA, J. Mechanics of superelastic tensegrity braces for timber frames equipped with buckling-restrained devices. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOLIDS AND STRUCTURES, 281: 112414,2023.
  • QADERI, S.; ADINOLFI, V.; GERMANO, G.; BENZONI, G.; LUCIANO, R.; FRATERNALI, F. An Experimental and Mechanical Study of a Two-Layer, Bioinspired Seismic Isolator for Multistory Buildings. BUILDINGS. 2023; 13(9):2272.