In Memoriam: André Rollin – Geosynthetic Pioneer

This past summer the geosynthetic community lost a great Geosynthetic Pioneer. André Rollin was always willing to help and promote communication between various parties in our industry from the Academic side to the Geosynthetic Contractor. News of his passing away was felt worldwide in our community. The sad news of losing André left a hole in our hearts, he will be missed and remembered at both International and Regional Conferences that he attended annually worldwide.


André Rollin was one of the few genuine pioneers of the geosynthetic discipline. Even in 1977 he was attending the 1st International Conference on Geosynthetics in Paris (France), he has worked to the end on this topic.

From 1966 to 1997, he was Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal (Canada), in charge of a research team about geosynthetics. Afterwards, he was consultant, expert in geosynthetics applications in the environmental and mining fields, for the consulting firm Solmers-Genivar.

He is the author of more than 170 scientific papers and co-editor of two books on geomembranes, « Géomembranes, Identification and Performance Testing » (Chapman and Hall,1991) et « Géomembranes, Guide de Choix » (Presses Internationales Polytechnique,2002). He received several awards, among these, excellence de la North American Geosynthetics Society in 1991. He was the President of the Canadian Institute of Engineers between 1998 and 2000.

Convinced of the importance of the cooperation between academic and industrial institutions, he managed more than one hundred contracts of Research and Development on geosynthetics. He was the leader of many Training courses for professionals in Ecole Polytechnique ,McGill in Montreal ,University of Sherbrooke, Royal Military College in Kingston, University of Syracuse, Wisconsin, but also in South America, Brazil, Ecuador, and in Europe, University of Grenoble, Lyon Mulhouse in France , Liège in Belgium.

He took a very active part in the standardization process for tests on geosynthetics. He was President of the RILEM CommitteeTC103 about geomembranes, he was member of the Committee ISO-TC38 SC21 from the beginning, the first President of the ISO-TC221 on geosynthetics, and secretary of the Committee ASTM D35. He was also vice-President of the North American Geosynthetics Society.

His training as chemical engineer, his open-mindedness to the interdisciplinarity, his passion he’s passed to, his great and sparkling intellect made decisive his contribution to the development of the geosynthetic discipline. One will retain specifically his original morphometric approach, using picture analysis, for geotextile filters and his chimio-physico-mechanical study of geomembranes.

In his private life, he was very attached to his stone house of the Perrot island, in front of the Montreal city, where friends and work colleagues often met merrily. On the other hand, he was an outstanding collector of stamps, watches, jewels, and President of the Circle of Quebec Collectors.

André you will truly be missed by us all.

Biographical Note IGS France Chapter Leader & long-time colleague and friend of André,
Jean-Pierre Gourc |
University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble