1. Home >
  2. Professor Tom Paulay



World renowned structural engineer and Professor of Civil Engineering, Professor Tom Paulay, was born in Hungary in 1923 and moved to New Zealand in 1951 at 28 years old.


Professor Tom Paulay


Professor Paulay died in 2009 in Christchurch, New Zealand.... leaving in his wake a legacy of highly influential work on earthquake engineering.


Known predominantly for his work in the civil and earthquake engineering fields, Professor Paulay won numerous international awards; from countries including Canada, New Zealand, America, and Japan.


His research improved building quality, seismic safety and shaped the way that buildings are designed and built today. His influence on the design of reinforced concrete buildings and his concept of capacity design is used as a basis for earthquake and seismic resilience across the globe.


Testament to his skill in civil and earthquake engineering, Professor Paulay was one of the most respected professors in his field during his time at the University of Canterbury, from 1961 to 1989, the year in which he retired. During his lifetime, he also travelled the world, attending conferences, and aiding people affected by earthquakes and the rebuild process.


Professor Paulay’s teachings have caused a ripple effect, shaping a new generation of structural and civil engineers whose expertise are now being utilised in the Christchurch rebuild, following the devastation of the Canterbury 2010 - 2011 earthquake sequence. To say that ‘his influence on the outcome of the Christchurch rebuild is hugely important’ would be an understatement.


He revolutionsed the way ductile reinforced concrete structures were designed, publised an incredible 150 papers on structural design and earthqauke engineering  and presented at approximately 30 international conferences.


Professor Paulay was also a consultant to UNESCO regarding earthquake mitigation in the Balkan region.


Professor Paulay was honored throughout his life by many institutions in his field, especially in his later years. He also lectured around the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s at institutions such as Stanford and the Japanese Ministry of Culture.


Professor Paulay was an incredible visionary and influential voice when it came to civil and earthquake engineering.


By creating new concepts surrounding building seismic safety, he has helped to build more earthquake resilient communities and inherently saved hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.












Proudly Supported By

To read more about our supporters please select their logo


Our Major Sponsors




Website development marketing agency