chapter  8
21 Pages

The Leaning Tower of St. Moritz: A structure on a creeping landslide

WithA.M. Puzrin

The 13th century Leaning Tower of St. Moritz, is located in the historic center of the famous Swiss ski resort town in the compression zone of a 10 million m3 Brattas landslide. Over the hundreds of years, this slowly creeping landslide, which is blocked by a rock outcrop below the tower, had damaged the adjacent St. Mauritius church to such an extent that it had to be demolished already in 1893 due to dangerous differential settlements and cracks. The fact that the 33 m tall tower has survived its 5.40 degrees downslope inclination should not be taken for granted: this is an outcome of a century long effort by a number of outstanding Swiss engineers who came up over the years with original stabilization solutions. This chapter explores the history of the Leaning Tower of St. Moritz, describes its stabilization attempts and pays tribute to some extraordinary minds behind them.