Ir. P.A. de Vries

I started working at the faculty of Civil Engineering as an associate researcher at the Building Engineering (building physics) section. This was in the early ’90s. At that time research in the field of building engineering had a strong focus on product modeling. I worked in the context of European research projects on database schemas and data exchange techniques (COMBINE-I and –II). The techniques explored in these projects are nowadays reflected in the implementation standard exchange product model data in common CAD systems. The work had a strong emphasis on information modeling and only minimal relation with civil engineering as a building/design profession. After 5 years of struggling with object oriented databases, writing C and C++ applications and loads of pizza deliveries to our office, I decided that the IT world wasn’t mine. I went back to a job where I could design and create physical in stead of virtual structures. This job I found in a research support position within the building engineering subsection in the Stevin IV laboratory. The focus of the research in the lab was the strength of innovative connections for round wood poles. This expertise resulted in a contribution to an EC research project in which the strength of round wood originating from wood thinning was addressed. In this project I worked on strength grading of small diameter Larch and developed a new connection for this material. Based on the knowledge acquired in the project I made a design for a viewing platform constructed from round wood poles. This tower was built in 2004.

Apart from the work on the round wood poles, the research in the building engineering lab was very divers. I designed test setups for the simulation of cracking of masonry due to hindered temperature deformation, performed tests on the strength and stiffness of textiles, using the bi-axial test rig. The lab also brought me in contact with Tentech, a small engineering office, specialized in tent structures. In the years 1999 to 2005 I was detached as a structural designer/engineer at this company and designed/engineered several temporary structures in steel, aluminum and wood.

The combination of working for both Tentech and the university worked out to be a too heavy job to combine with my family situation. In 2005, after the reorganization of the Stevin labs, I decided to concentrate fully on the work for the university and joined the steel and wood section.


Research in the field of timber and timber structures is in preparation. The research will address performance of timber and timber joints in structures (strength and stiffness, creep), and new connections. Local wood modification techniques to improve joint behavior and modeling of the joint behavior have my special interest.

Current projects with students involve the behavior of high strength steel fasteners in timber joints and the mechanical properties of home grown larch.

Member in COST Action E55 ': Modeling of the performance of timber structures’.


Vries, PA de, & Gard, WF (2006).
Small diameter round wood observation tower. In WCTE 2006; 9th world conference on timber engineering (pp. 1-7). Corvallis, OR, USA: Oregon State University. (TUD)

Vries, PA de, Gard, WF, & Schuch, R (2006).
Development of a strength grading system of small diameter round wood. In WCTE 2006; 9th world conference on timber engineering (pp. 1-8). Corvallis, OR, USA: Oregon State University. (TUD)

Peter de Vries