Celebrating the Best in Structural Engineering 2

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
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Justin McGar
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In what is a truly global shortlist, the Institution of Structural Engineers has announced the projects vying for this year’s coveted Structural Awards.

The Institution of Structural Engineers is the world’s largest membership organisation dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering, with 27,000 members in 105 countries around the world.

From a bridge modelled on a Maori fish hook, a sculpture at Heathrow Airport and a new Apple store in Istanbul, entries from New Zealand, Turkey, China, Germany, Canada and the UK all demonstrate innovation and excellence in the field of structural engineering.

“We hold the Structural Awards each year to recognise outstanding work by structural engineers, and to raise awareness about the vital global role they play creating innovative design solutions,” said Institution of Structural Engineers chief executive Martin Powell.

“From skyscraper and bridge construction to heritage and home projects, the Awards showcase the full range of chartered structural engineers’ abilities – as trusted professionals, problem solvers, and the guardians of public safety.”

There are a number of highlights on this year’s shortlist.

A footbridge over the Bow River, engineered by Fast + Epp, is a new icon for the historical Rocky Mountain town of Banff in Canada. Achieving the minimal slender form in timber was made possible by a pair of unique tuned mass dampers that control vibrations, addressing both walking and jogging frequencies.

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According to the judges, this bridge pushes the boundaries for timber footbridges in a dramatic manner. Its designers responded with sensitivity to the constraints and aspirations for the project, delighting the town it serves while still respecting the beautiful natural setting.

The Glass Lantern for Apple in Istanbul, Turkey was deemed “a supreme example of collaboration between engineer and fabricator, taking structural glass technology into a new dimension. Only engineering excellence and attention to detail can produce a result of such simplicity and purity of expression.”

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Engineered by Eckersley O’Callaghan, there are only five elements to this building – four sheets of glass and a single panel of FRP. The only thing holding them together is silicon.

The Lower Hatea Crossing is part of a plan to reduce traffic congestion around the city of Whangarei, New Zealand. The memorable architectural appearance was inspired by a traditional Maori fish hook.

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The client hoped for the bridge to become a public landmark that would reflect the art and culture of the Maori people. The innovative design of the bridge by Knight Architects has delivered that aspiration.

The New Encants Market in Barcelona, Spain, has been built on a site surrounded by some of the city’s busiest transportation lanes. BAC Engineering Consultancy Group assembled the intriguing roof at ground level and then jacked it up into position.

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The Serpentine Sackler Gallery by Arup in London required the sensitive refurbishment and repurposing of a Grade II listed 19th century munitions store. The building was extended with an extraordinary fabric roof.

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Arup was also behind the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in China. This 255-metre high tower supports a large three-storey podium 36 metres above ground level. A textured all-glass façade enables the building to sparkle and change appearance according to the lighting conditions.

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“Responding to structurally challenging architecture in a rational and analytical manner, the engineer has succeeded in providing a sensational building with good sustainability credentials,” the judges said.

Slipstream, by Price & Myers, manages to merge creative art and engineering. This giant sculpture, in the new Heathrow Terminal 2 building, expresses the movement of a stunt plane flying through the entrance space. It is the longest permanent sculpture in Europe, made from around 32,000 unique parts.

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Finally, the Miles Stair at Somerset House in London shows yet another side to structural engineering. This new lightweight-concrete staircase with a steel core at the Grade I listed Somerset House in London, has been designed by Techniker to last for 120 years.

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The winners will be announced in London on November 14, 2014.

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  1. Geoff Larkings

    What is particularly great about this story are the images. Engineers often don't get the kudos for the contribution they make to the final aesthetics of a structure. But equally as an industry they don't often commission professional photographers to showcase their work. This selection of projects clearly demonstrates the beauty of good structural engineering.

  2. Gary J.

    Not sure of the Serpentine Sackler gallery should really be on the list…