Articles People & Places

An amazing experience with SAHC

4 May, 2020 3 min reading
Elsa Anglade, Doctoral student at Laboratoire matériaux et durabilité des matériaux (LMDC), Toulouse, France

An amazing experience with SAHC

As I was a student in a French Engineering School, I started to work on projects related to historical buildings. Masonry was an attractive mystery to me and I was looking forward to know it better. My professors told me there was a master specialized in restoration of historical buildings and I knew immediately that I would apply as soon as I finished my studies. 


I was far from guessing how intense and rewarding SAHC would be. I learnt a lot from passionate teachers who were illustrating the classes with real examples from their own analysis, and most of all from all the other students coming from the entire world. The mix of cultures was one of the best points of this Master. During all the year, we shared great moments and learnt the traditions of very different countries. 


Besides all those funny moments, SAHC was a demanding Master course and I learnt a lot in a very short time. Most of the assignments were group work, which allowed us to share our vision of work. During the year we had many different projects about numerical modelling, inspection of buildings or analysis of lab results. My favorite assignment was the inspection of the Ducal Palace in Guimaraes. I had to inspect the roof and specially the chimneys, which was really nice because it’s not a place that usual visitors can access. 

We also had a group project to carry out during the entire coursework. Mine was about the inspection of an entire city center in order to analyze its seismic risk.


Click here if you want to know more about SAHC advanced masters


This project was different from what we saw in class because we had to deal with more than 200 buildings. The methodology was new to me and this adventure has been quite intense.

After seven months in Portugal, I moved to Spain to do my master thesis. As I enjoyed my project about seismic analysis of a city center, I decided to choose a similar topic and I analyzed the seismic response of two Romanesque churches.


From the first point of view, the methodology seemed to be similar, but analyzing an entire church is far more complicated than a building. I had the chance to do the inspection with a friend and we spent hours looking at the vaults and trying to identify cracks. 

After concluding the SAHC Masters course, I decided to go back to France and start a PhD about modelling unfired earth construction. 


My topic is not about historical buildings, but I am using every day the knowledge about earth construction that I learnt during SAHC. After my PhD I will try to go back to topics related to historical buildings and maybe, if I am lucky, I will be able to be part of a team working on Notre Dame de Paris’ reconstruction.