Professor Ken Elwood


Prof. Ken Elwood serves as the Research Director for Te Hiranga Rū QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience.  Ken joined the University of Auckland in July 2014 after 11 years on faculty at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Ken was drawn to New Zealand to pursue the numerous opportunities for research and implementation in earthquake risk reduction. He is actively involved in research related to the seismic assessment and design of concrete buildings.

Ken received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002, M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995, and BASc from the University of British Columbia in 1993. He is a registered Professsional Engineer in British Columbia, Canada.

Ken is a member of several national and international code committees including the American Concrete Instititute Building Code (ACI 318). He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE) and a member of the Management Committee of New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering.

Research | Current

  • Seismic assessment of existing concrete and masonry buildings.
  • Post-earthquake recovery.
  • Performance-based seismic design.
  • Seismic retrofit.
  • Nonlinear structural analysis.
  • Shake table testing.
  • Earthquake disaster resilience.


  • President's Award, New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (2018)
  • Outstanding Paper Award, North American Masonry Conference (2015)
  • ACI Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Achievement Award (2014)
  • Fellow of American Concrete Institute (2012)
  • Best Professor Award (2014, 2011 and 2009)
  • JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009)
  • Visiting Chair Professor, National Taiwan University (2009)
  • Outstanding Paper Award, Earthquake Spectra (2009)
  • President’s Award, LA Tall Building Structural Design Council (2007)
  • SEAOC and SEAONC Awards of Merit (2007)
  • C.P. Siess Award for Excellence in Structural Research (2007)
  • Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center Fellowship (1998)
  • NSERC Science and Engineering Scholarship (1993)

Areas of expertise

Seismic assessment of existing concrete and masonry buildings and performance-based seismic design.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  •     Research Director, QuakeCoRE: Centre for Earthquake Resilience.
  •     Former Board Member, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).
  •     Former Governance Board Member, Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).
  •     Former Chair, Learning from Earthquake Committee, EERI.
  •     Former Chair, ACI Committee 369 on Seismic Rehabilitation and Repair.
  •     Member, ACI Building Code Subcommittee 318H on Seismic Effects.
  •     Associate Member, ASCE/SEI 41, Standards Committee on Seismic Rehabilitation.
  •     Former Member, Standing Committee on Seismic Design, NBCC.
  •     Former Scientific Management. Committee Member, Canadian Seismic Research Network.
  •     Co-Team Leader, Christchurch Earthquake Reconnaissance, EERI.
  •     Lead Guest Editor, Special Issue for Canterbury Earthquakes, Earthquake Spectra, EERI.
  •     Editorial Board Member, EERI, Earthquake Spectra.
  •     Professional Engineer, British Columbia, Canada.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Gaetani d’Aragona M, Polese, M., Elwood, K. J., Baradaran Shoraka, M., & Prota, A. (2017). Aftershock collapse fragility curves for non-ductile RC buildings: A scenario-based assessment. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 46 (13), 2083-2102. 10.1002/eqe.2894
  • Paxton, B., Elwood, K. J., & Ingham, J. (2017). Empirical Damage Relationships and Benefit-Cost Analysis for Seismic Retrofit of URM Buildings. Earthquake Spectra, 33 (3), 1053-1074. 10.1193/091816EQS153M
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jason Ingham
  • Azimikor, N., Brzev, S., Elwood, K. J., Anderson, D., & McEwen, W. (2017). Out-of-plane instability of reinforced masonry uniaxial specimens under reversed cyclic axial loading. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 44 (5), 367-376. 10.1139/cjce-2016-0006
  • Kim, J. J., Elwood, K. J., Marquis, F., & Chang, S. E. (2017). Factors influencing post-earthquake decisions on buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand. Earthquake Spectra, 33 (2), 623-640. 10.1193/072516EQS120M
  • Yathon, J., Adebar, P., & Elwood, K. J. (2017). A detailed inventory of non-ductile concrete shear wall buildings. Earthquake Spectra, 33 (2), 605-622. 10.1193/042216EQS065M
  • Marquis, F., Kim, J. J., Elwood, K. J., & Chang, S. E. (2017). Understanding post-earthquake decisions on multi-storey concrete buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 15 (2), 731-758. 10.1007/s10518-015-9772-8
  • Shegay, A., Motter, C., Henry, R., & Elwood, K. (2016). Large scale testing of Reinforced Concrete Walls with High Axial Loads. Paper presented at New Zealand Concrete Industry Conference 2016, Auckland, New Zealand. 6 October - 8 October 2016.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rick Henry
  • Penner, O., & Elwood, K. J. (2016). Out-of-plane dynamic stability of unreinforced masonry walls in one-way bending: Shake table testing. Earthquake Spectra, 32 (3), 1675-1697. 10.1193/011415EQS009M

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 235
New Zealand