Bio of Prof. Heinz Brandl

photo-brandlProf. Heinz Brandl, Steering Committee member of IICTG

Head of Institute for Geotechnics, Vienna University of Technology

Address: A-1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz 13, Austria

Phone: +43 13702622


Prof. Heinz Brandl was born on 29.06.1940 in Znojmo, Lower Austria (now Czech Republic). He graduated 1963 in Civil Engineering with a M.Sc. (Dipl.-Ing.) from the Technical University in Vienna, from where he also obtained the degree of Dr.techn. in Geotechnical Engineering with honours (summa cum laude) in 1966. From 1963 to 1966 he was Assistant at the Institute for Ground Engineering and Soil Mechanics at the Vienna Technical University, then Assistant Professor and Head of the Soil Mechanics Laboratory. In 1971 he was appointed Associate Professor but left the University to pursue comprehensive practice and applied research as a freelance consulting engineer on various construction sites in Austria and abroad.

In 1977 H. Brandl was appointed Full Professor for Soil and Rock Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (including Tunnelling) at the Technical University of Graz. From 1978 to 1981 he was Head of the Geotechnical Institute in Graz, and since 1981 he has been Full Professor at the Technical University of Vienna chairing the prestigious Institute for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, which was founded by Professor Karl Terzaghi in 1928.
Professor Brandl’s creative work comprises about 450 scientific publications including 21 books, some published in 17 languages. The subjects cover laboratory and field testing, soil and rock mechanics, foundation engineering, slope engineering, earthworks, tunnelling, urban undergrounds, restoration of historical buildings, road and railway engineering, hydro/hydraulic engineering and environmental engineering (landfills, brownfield remediation), geosynthetics, geothermal engineering, natural disaster mitigation and rehabilitation, etc. He also published on philosophical aspects and on ethics in the profession.

From the very outset of his professional work H. Brandl has been bridging the gap between theory and practice. He has been fully responsible for around 3500 projects of civil engineering, geotechnical and environmental engineering in Austria and elsewhere: e.g. retaining structures up to 70 m height, high motorway embankments (up to 135 m), risky slope stabilizations, bridges in unstable terrain, deep soil improvements, high-rise structures, waste disposal facilities, contaminated land rehabilitation, power plants and buildings under difficult conditions (seismic areas, areas of subsidence), flood protection, etc. By creating a semi-empirical design method and taking calculated risks, he achieved not only significant cost savings but could also combine his engineering activities with many opportunities for comprehensive research work leading to numerous theoretical and practical innovations.

His practical experience comprises soil and rock investigations, general and detailed planning, design and calculation, construction work, engineering consulting, construction management and control, overall supervision, long-term monitoring and remedial works.

Professor Brandl has been active world-wide since 1968 as chairman, general reporter, state-of-the-art reporter, special lecturer, keynote lecturer, discussion leader and panel list at numerous international conferences on soil and rock mechanics, ground engineering, road and bridge engineering, environmental engineering, eosynthetics,
etc. Up to now he delivered more than 450 different invited lectures covering the entire professional field.

Professor Brandl was European President of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) for the period 1997-2001. Since 1972 he has been Chairman of the Austrian Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Furthermore he has been chairman and board or core member of numerous national and international technical committees for geotechnical engineering, road and transportation research, waste management and land remediation, hydropower, flood protection, natural disaster mitigation and rehabilitation, geosynthetics, and preservation/restoration of old buildings, etc. since the Seventies. He has also been a member of advisory boards, scientific committees and paper review committees of numerous international conferences worldwide, and a member of editorial boards and peer review committees of international scientific journals.

Until now his international activities have covered 83 countries in all continents. In 1992 Professor Brandl was appointed foreign member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Belgium, and since 1997 he has been member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He received numerous national and international awards, honorary doctorates and other honours. He was the Rankine Lecturer of the year 2001 and is the Manuel Rocha Lecturer of the year 2008. Moreover he was the 1st K. Szechy Lecturer in Hungary, the 1st Nonveiller Lecturer in Croatia, the Suklje Lecturer in Slovenia etc., and he created the prestigious “Vienna Terzaghi Lecture”.

Since June 2003 Prof. Brandl has been President of the Austrian Society of Engineers and Architects, which was founded already in 1848.