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Paolo Martino Calvi

Faculty Photo

Associate Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering


Paolo Calvi joins the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as assistant professor in structural engineering in September 2015. He has a BA and an MSCE from the University of Pavia (Italy), where he gained experience working in one of the most advanced centers of research on earthquake engineering ( During his studies, he was a visiting student at the University of California San Diego, where he attended advanced courses on earthquake engineering and structural integrity. He obtained his PhD at the University of Toronto, where gained extensive experience in the area of advanced experimental and numerical response of reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete structures, with particular emphasis on shear critical structures subjected to monotonic, cyclic and dynamic loads. Before joining the University of Washington as a faculty member in September 2015, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), working on the protection of non-structural elements and structural systems by means of base isolation.

His current research studies include development of mechanical models to estimate the residual strength of RC and PC bridge structures relying on observable crack patterns, to allow direct comparisons between residual capacity and potential demands. His prior work has focused on large-scale testing of shear critical RC structures and on development of non-linear models, simplified assessment tools and design guidelines. Over the past five years, he has been actively involved in the testing of more than 70 large scale structural elements such as beams, panels, walls, transfer girders and coupling beams.

He designed and is currently supervising the construction of the UW Panel Element Tester, an advanced apparatus comprising thirty seven, 60-kip hydraulic actuators that can apply arbitrary combinations of in-plane stresses to thin membrane specimens. This tester is the first of its kind to be available on the west coast of the US and it is unique among similar testers for its flexibility in terms of stress states that it can generate.

He is a registered Professional Engineer in Italy and has been involved in several international research and consulting projects in Europe, Canada and USA. He is affiliated to the EUCENTRE where he holds a researcher position and he is a member of the UT-SIM, a universal simulation framework integrating diverse numerical substructures and experimental specimens. Most recently, he was a member of the EERI Reconnaissance Team for the Central Italy earthquake of August 24, 2016.


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2015
  • M.S., University of Pavia, 2010
  • B.S., University of Pavia, 2008

Previous appointments

  • European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering, 2015 (Italy)

Research Statement

Paolo's research focuses on the reduction of the risk of structural systems, considering all aspects of hazard, vulnerability and exposure with particular focus on understanding the response of existing structures. In this general framework, his specific current research areas of interest are:

  • Experimental and numerical response of reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete structures with particular emphasis on shear critical structures subjected to monotonic, cyclic and dynamic loads. This includes the development of practical modelling procedures for the design of new structures and the assessment of existing structures.
  • Evaluation of the demand (induced by different kind of events) on structures, with specific reference to damage and loss assessment under seismic loading, including the response of non-structural components.
  • Displacement-based assessment of reinforced concrete buildings and bridges, evaluation of structural response for risk and loss assessment, seismic risk assessment at regional and national scales.
  • Development of displacement based design methodologies for structures incorporating added damping, rocking systems and base isolation devices.

Current projects

Design of a Membrane Element Tester for Reinforced Concrete Structures (2015 – ongoing)

Seismic Risk Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Bridges in Washington State Using a Performance Based Adaptive Methodology (2015 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Abigail Chrisman

Numerical Study of Seismic Behavior of Variable Friction Base Isolation Systems (2015 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Sandip Timsina

Estimating Earthquake Induced Floor Accelerations in Rocking Reinforced Concrete Shear Wall Systems (2015 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Leikune Aragaw

Investigation of Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Deck Bulb Tee Bridges (2015 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Timothy Peruchini. (With Prof. John Stanton)

Towards a Simplified Method of Predicting Floor Spectra in Base Isolated Structures (2016). Graduate Student: Giulia Scagliotti

Shear Stress Transfer across Steel to Concrete Interfaces and Effects of Dowel Action (2016 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Otgonchimeg Davaadorj. (With Prof. John Stanton)

Advanced Numerical Study and Experimental Investigation of Variable Friction Base Isolated Structures (2016 – ongoing). Graduate Student: Tianye Yang. (With Prof. Richard Wiebe)

Development of Tools and Procedures for the Monitoring and Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Bridges (2017 – ongoing). Postdoctoral Fellow: Alexander Kagermanov

Honors & awards

  • Italian nominee for the 2015 fib Achievement Award for Young Engineers (AAYE);
  • Doctoral Completion Award, 2015, University of Toronto;
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI)
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
  • International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE)
  • Italian Society for Civil Engineering