Articles People & Places

What is it like to be a member of the SAHC family

6 January, 2021 3 min reading
Maria Laura Leonardi, Italian - Architect specializing in Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions

What is it like to be a member of the SAHC family

My homeland, Sicily, gave me the opportunity of witnessing a wide variety of historical buildings from different ages, many of which have been unfortunately left in a state of neglect.


This awakened in me a sense of responsibility, making me understand the urgency of specialized technicians in this field. It was at that moment that I decided to apply for SAHC Masters Course.


At this moment, I am not even in the middle of the Master’s Course, but I think I’ve already grown a lot professionally. I am appreciating that the first approach of each topic is with basic concepts, but it also gets to very specific topics: it gives me the possibility of using my education background but also to strongly increase my technical knowledge and experience.


As an architect, I am obtaining a more in-depth knowledge of matters that are complementary to my previous studies, but fundamental for what I want to do in the future.



It’s very exciting to have the opportunity of working with people having widely varying backgrounds: SAHC students come from all over the world, and all of them have a different approach to historical constructions, being civil engineers, architectural engineers, or architects.


The multicultural and multidisciplinary approaches of SAHC also characterize the teaching staff and since I am here, I met a lot of professionals to which I have been able to address any doubts regarding a very specific topic.


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Something that positively surprised me is the organization of the Master itself and the fact that, even during this hard period due to the pandemic, its quality has not been compromised. In fact, taking the right precautions, the majority of classes have been done regularly in presence, and all the scheduled activities such as laboratory tests and site visits have been made.


This is not secondary, since the practical approach is fundamental to immediately apply the concept learned during courses, shortening the gap between what I learn as a student and what I will do in my future professional life.


For this reason, one of my favorite part of this master’s is the “Integrated project”, which takes place in the first semester, parallel to the other units. Students, organized in groups, assess a study case from the beginning (historical analysis) to the end (proposal of intervention).


My group is studying a three-story masonry building in Braga, and not even this pandemic situation stopped us from making all the required inspection of the building and using innovative tools for inspection and diagnosis.


Last, but not least, I’m finding stimulating the mix of history and innovation of SAHC, taking into account ancient rules and classical approaches, but also more modern issues such as the challenges and problems related to modelling and schematizing historical structures.


This is making me more and more aware of the recent developments in terms of research, but also of the current challenges, which is fundamental to me since I would like to continue my Academic Career with a Ph.D. course.


I feel privileged for being a member of the SAHC family and I really recommend to all those who are interested in safeguarding the heritage to apply for the next edition of the SAHC Master Course.