Institution of Structural Engineers Awards - double winner!

Light at the end of the tunnel - Mark Dowson, London

06/11/2012 Written by: Gill Sincock

The central focus of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the main stadium, took the award for Sports or Leisure Structures while the Arkansas-based Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was announced winner of the Arts or Entertainments category.

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium was created from a complex brief that called for a 80,000 seat stadium suitable for showcasing athletics events as well as providing a ‘theatre’ for the Games opening and closing ceremonies. Following the completion of the Games, the venue also had to provide a permanent 25,000 seat stadium for East London. Sustainability was also key in informing the Stadium’s design and construction. The embodied energy used to manufacture the Stadium’s elements was far less than other Olympic stadia, due to the compact design.

Declaring the stadium as the category winner the judges said "Every Olympic stadium must evoke the spirit of the Games it serves.”

“By combining an in depth understanding of the structural engineering requirements and possibilities, with close attention to the practicalities of steelwork fabrication and erection, the deceptively simple London 2012 Stadium delivers precisely what was requested."

Winner of the Arts or Entertainments category, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas in the USA features a series of eight interrelated structures that overlook two man-made ponds fed by a small stream. For three of these structures the engineers have responded to the architect’s inspiration based on suspended bridges in Bhutan. One projects into a pond and the other two span across the stream that leads from the adjacent Crystal Spring.

The judges’ comments for the project included; "The structural engineers have creatively responded to the challenge of the architect’s vision.”

“A simple palette of materials was employed to create a structure where an elegant appearance masks a complex behaviour.”

“To successfully realise the project they developed critical details that allowed standard components to cope with the variable geometry."

Considered the industry’s most prestigious award ceremony the Structural Awards celebrate international excellence in structural engineering and feature projects from around the globe.

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