Stadia, wheels and bridges: the spectacular winners of the 2015 Structural Awards
The winners of this year's Structural Awards have been announced. Run by the Institute of Structural Engineers, the awards aim to recognize outstanding achievement by structural engineers around the world. The overall winner was the Singapore Sports Hub, with the world's largest free-spanning dome.
The UK-based Institute of Structural Engineers claims to be the world's largest membership organisation dedicated to structural engineering, with over 27,000 members in 105 countries. It has been running the Structural Awards annually since 1968, with honored projects ranging from small-scale innovative housing, heritage restorations and educational buildings, to large-scale bridges and stadia.
Previous winners of the Structural Awards' top prize have included Foster + Partners "Glass Lantern" Apple Store in Istanbul and the 3-km (1.9-mi) Taizhou Bridge in China. This year, there were 85 project submissions from 22 countries. Fourteen awards were presented in total, with the winners coming from nine nations across five continents.
Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence and Award for Sports or Leisure Structures: Singapore Sports Hub
Described as a "key project in Singapore's urban redevelopment and sports facilities masterplan," the Singapore Sports Hub comprises a 55,000-seat sports stadium with a retractable roof and movable seating, as well as sports, retail and leisure spaces. Through intelligent design, the roof uses a third of the weight of steel that might ordinarily be used for a span of its size.
Award for Arts or Entertainment Structures: The Vegas High Roller, Las Vegas, USA (by Arup)
The Vegas High Roller is 168-m (551-ft) tall, making it the current Guinness World Record Holder for the tallest observation wheel. Its 28 air-conditioned cabins can accommodate over 1,000 people at a time and it is said to be the first giant observation wheel to have a a single tubular rim.
Award for Commercial or Retail Structures: Intesa SanPaolo Tower, Turin, Italy (by Expedition Engineering and Studio Ossola)
The Renzo Piano-designed Intesa SanPaolo Tower is built with six exposed "megacolumns," which the judges say not only complement the building's architectural form, but add to its overall aesthetic. The building boasts a roof-top glass house, a suspended auditorium and public space at street level. At 166 m (545 ft) tall, it is also the second tallest structure in Turin.
Award for Community or Residential Structures: "Malapa" Hominid Fossil Site Cover + Visitors' Platform, Johannesburg, South Africa (by Fellows Consulting)
The "Malapa" Hominid Fossil Site Cover + Visitors' Platform provides a means of protecting and observing the "Australopithecus Sediba" hominid fossil. To preserve the integrity of the site, it has no foundations and a lightweight steel structure that is 85 percent recyclable.
Award for Education or Healthcare Structures: Melbourne School of Design, Melbourne, Australia (by Irwinconsult)
Commissioned in 2009, the Melbourne School of Design is aimed in part at teaching the students about design, structural engineering and construction. The materials used are employed in such a way as to demonstrate their qualities, including a wooden roof over the central atrium, a steel scissor staircase and exposed in-situ concrete beams and post-tensioned slabs.
Award for Highway or Railway Bridge Structures: Schuman Bridge, Lyon, France (by Flint & Neill)
Designed to ease congestion in Lyon, the judges honored the Schuman Bridge due, in part, to its elegance and slenderness. While its 120-tonne (132-ton) arches are the primary structural element, they are also designed to be visually striking, with a twisting, gull-wing form.
Award for Infrastructure or Transportation Structures: Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), Anaheim USA (by Thornton Tomasetti)
The ARTIC rail, bus, auto and bike hub boasts a steel structure of crisscrossing parallel arches. A take on old airship hangars and historic train stations, it is at once both visually and structurally impressive. The 250 x 184-ft (76 x 56-m) building houses a grand hall, ticketing and retail space.
Award for Pedestrian Bridges: Greenwich Reach Swing Bridge, London, UK (by Flint & Neill)
The Greenwich Reach Swing Bridge provides an additional link along the Thames Path, allowing local residents to access public transport and attractions. It is able to swing open through 110 degrees to allow river traffic access.
Award for Small Practices: Steel and glass features for the 300th anniversary of Omsk, Russia (by Malishev Engineers)
The Award for Small Practices recognizes a structural design practice that employs up to 10 staff and that generates a maximum annual income up to £1 million (US$1.5 million). In honoring Malishev Engineers, the judging panel says that its refurbishment of Omsk's Valikhanov Street as part of the city's 300th anniversary celebrations "a great example of the impact that a small practice can have in town or city." The project features steel and glass installations scattered along the street.
Award for Small Projects: Stage by the Sea, Littlehampton, UK (by Expedition Engineering)
Stage by the Sea is a community performance area beside the beach. Located in a sunken garden, it takes the form of an architectural shell structure and is formed out of spray concrete, with the interior surface sculpted to reflect, project and focus the sound of performers towards the audience.
Award for Structural Heritage: Restoration of Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore (by T.Y. Lin International)
The restoration of this 150-year-old concert hall is said to have required "numerous structural interventions in order to bring it into the 21st Century." The judges noted that the work on Singapore's oldest performing arts venue, not only enhanced the building, but "was carried out with sensitivity and great care for the historical features."
Award for Regional Groups: SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland (by Arup)
Not only is the SSE Hydro Scotland's largest entertainment venue, but it is said to have been the second-busiest entertainment arena in the world in its first year of operation. The arena's 12,500-capacity auditorium provides a combination of fixed, retractable and removable seating to enable a wide range of different staging and concert layouts and its amphitheatre form was designed to ensure excellent views of the stage from every seat.
Award for Sustainability: Housing for Low-Income Communities in El Salvador (by Arup)
This project uses modern engineering principles and technologies, as well as traditional construction methods to create an alternative form of permanent, low-cost and appropriate housing for low-income communities in El Salvador. It is described as being low-tech but with a modern look, with the judges calling it "potentially life changing for many communities in this extremely poor country."