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Greatest engineering feats of 2018 recognised at Structural Awards



The world’s most impressive feats of structural engineering from 2018 have been recognised at the Structural Awards, hosted by the Institution of Structural Engineers in the UK.

This year’s winner of the top prize ‘The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence’ was the Tamina Canyon Crossing, located in Bad Ragaz in Switzerland. The stunningly elegant bridge sits 200m above the Tamina canyon gorge and spans a total length of 417m. The judges stated that it represents ‘an outstanding engineering solution’ with ‘elegance, clarity and economy of design’.
The Tamina Crossing in Switzerland was awarded the overall grand prize at this year's Structural Awards
Held every year since 1968, the Structural Awards are divided into 14 categories based on the structural characteristics of the projects and the solutions they provide. In total, 53 projects were shortlisted.

Here are the winners of the other categories:
The Dubai Frame was the winner of the Tall or Slender Structure award
Tall or Slender Structure

At 150 metres in height and 93 metres wide, the tall and slender Dubai Frame was a worthy (and appropriate) winner of this category. The structure consists of two rhomboidal towers, connected by a sky bridge at the top, offering visitors a spectacular view of the city. The judges commented, “A unique project and an unusual and ambitious application of a conventional structural form. The picture frame arrangement, very common as a structural stability system, has been realised on a massive scale” whilst “the deliberately slender design of the towers adds to the drama of this tourist attraction whilst also reducing the volume of materials used and maximising efficiency of the structure”.
The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in China
Long Span Structure

Winner of this category was the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) located in Pingtang County, China. More specifically the judges highlighted the reflector supporting structural system which is a 500m aperture and 300m radius spherical crown composed of primary supporting structure, actuator, backing structure and reflector panels. The sheer scale of this project, and its challenging remote location were just a few of the reasons that the judging panel felt the project worthy of award, “The list of technical considerations that become apparent on close inspection of this project demonstrate the engineers have been meticulous in their approach and often working from first principles to produce this highly challenging and impressive structure”.
Construction of the Tamina Canyon Crossing in Switzerland.
Vehicle Bridge

The vehicle bridge category was won by the Tamina Canyon Crossing which also took the overall ‘Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence’. It appears that is was the elegant combination of form with function that particularly impressed the judging panel, with their comments being, “The judges like the way that the open spandrel prop supports are inclined in a radial fan arrangement, and the high degree of transparency that has been achieved, with an attractive rhythm for the spans of the deck girder. This transparency is accentuated by the slenderness of the thin inclined props which is achieved by the use of meticulously detailed concrete hinges”.
The Perry Bridge, located in Horotiu, New Zealand
Pedestrian Bridge

Resembling an epic vehicle bridge, but at human scale, the Perry Bridge located in Horotiu, New Zealand was triumphant in the Pedestrian Bridge category. The bridge is an integral link in a 70km footpath and cycleway which runs for over 70km across New Zealand. The bridge itself spans 130 metres and is around 3 metres wide. The slim tubular arches are connected by steel channels to form an in-plane vierendeel truss providing lateral bracing to the tubes and the network of hangars connects the arch to the bridge deck, which is of precast panels post-tensioned together with in-situ concrete.
Rwanda Cricket Stadium
Small Project (Under £1 million)

What combines Mediterranean construction techniques, cricket and the rolling topography of Rwanda? The prize-winning Rwanda Cricket Stadium! The stadium adapts ancient Mediterranean techniques of thin-tile vaulting using compressed soil-cement tiles and geogrid reinforcement for seismic stabilisation. The vaults have been designed to represent the parabolic geometry of a bouncing cricket ball. As the judges noted, “This project demonstrates that local skills and local materials can come together to build something outstanding and of its time. This building is likely to become a local landmark and instil pride in the people who experience it. It is also likely to fascinate young students and might lead them to explore the structural engineering behind the project”.
Herne Hill Pavilion
Small Project (Between £1-3 million)

Since 1891 Herne Hill in south London has been home to an historic velodrome, which had played host to events at the 1948 Olympics. However, the site had fallen into disrepair in recent decades and it was decided to build a new timber pavilion hut which combines modern construction materials and techniques with some hints of the past. The judges deemed that the project “has succeeded in providing a modern engineered timber pavilion, which makes use of some of the elements of the original 1891 building; such as cast-iron posts, which support the primary 600mm-deep European whitewood glulam timber beams. These primary beams were curved in the factory to form the pavilion’s distinctive and highly aesthetic roof profile. The detailing demonstrates visual elegance. The attention to detail, such as the tapered beams above the outside seating area, align to the internal moment envelope, as well as reducing the perceived depth of the roof at the line of sight and contribute to the elegance of the overall design solution”.
Equinor's Hywind Floating Offshore Windfarm
Structure in Extreme Conditions

Regular readers of EngineeringPro will be aware that there are few locations more extreme for structures than offshore. So, it’s no great surprise to see Equinor’s Hywind project win the prize for structure in extreme conditions. The judges specifically highlighted the project’s Stability Frame for recognition. Hywind is the world’s first floating wind farm, and the use of a novel stability frame is what made the project feasible. The stability frame ensured that each full pre-assembled wind turbine (100m tall with a blade diameter of 154m) could be lifted from their Norwegian assembly area and mated with its 10,500-tonne submerged floating base, before being towed 450km across the North Sea to the site of the new Buchan Deep wind farm. The 30-tonne fabricated steel structure included a friction collar controlled with hydraulic actuators to allow lifting, transport and installation of the 1,140-tonne wind turbine generator, safely addressing the inherently unstable temporary condition and the extreme roll, pitch and yaw motions caused by wind and wave motions in transit.
The Grade II listed Art Deco Hoover building
Structural Heritage

The Grade II listed Art Deco Hoover building was the winner of the Structural Heritage category. Beautifully converted from an office to 66 homes, the project utilised careful and considered design, complementing the historic fabric and utilising the existing structure whilst converting the building by adding additional levels between the existing floor slabs.
The Romerhus project in Denmark
Structural Transformation

How do you make a building from 1895 fit for the 21st century? You could do worse than following the example of the team behind the Rømerhus project in Denmark. The judging panel summarised the transformation of the building as follows, “This stylish transformation of a historic town centre building has benefitted immensely from the intelligent design and construction methodology of the construction consultants. The resultant conversion of a 19th century building into vibrant and unencumbered retail and office space, where the artistry and intelligence of the structural solutions are fully expressed, is a tribute to the skill of the structural engineers and their close collaboration with the architect”.
Atelier One's Spaceframe LED support system in action
Construction Innovation

The Construction Innovation award was captured by Atelier One for their unique Spaceframe LED support system, whose revolutionary use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics reduced weight by 35% and truck loading volume by 40% make touring much easier for musicians and other entertainers.
The Victoria and Albert Museum's new underground gallery space for temporary exhibitions
Construction Integration

A new 1100m2 column-free subterranean gallery for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s temporary exhibitions programme secured the award for construction integration. Situated within a historic and iconic building, the project utilised sophisticated 3D analysis, digital design and optimisation methods together with early considerations of buildability and construction sequence to develop the most efficient and appropriate design and reduce risks during construction.
The Steve Jobs Theatre Pavilion in Cupertino California
Structural Artistry

Designed to evoke the same ethos as Apple’s products, the Steve Jobs Theatre Pavilion in Cupertino, California was the winner of the Structural Artistry award. The pavilion features a stunning 47m carbon fibre roof supported by a 7-metre-high glass cylinder, made up of glass panels, each consisting of four layers of 12mm thick plies.
The New StructureCraft plant
Outstanding Value

Constructed in only five days, the New StructureCraft Plant, is a large factory and office structure where timber units are to be fabricated. The structure is made up of pre-fabricated timber panels and features stepped glulam belly beams and a timber diaphragm spanning 100 metres.
The new sustainable Haiti Chapel

For its commitment to sustainability and its ability to withstand seismic action and hurricane wind loads, the Haiti Chapel won the Sustainability category. The chapel has been built using locally available trades and materials and will be used to provide space for services, meetings, counselling and consulting.

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Greatest engineering feats of 2018 recognised at Structural Awards - Time to read 8 min
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