In modern-day design competitions, architectural firms tend to receive recognition as the artists of the project while the structural engineers are credited as filling a support role. In actuality, architects and engineers are more likely to work as a team to realize a design. Such is the case for the projects below, which are among the 42 shortlisted for the Institution of Structural Engineers' 2016 Structural Awards, an international competition that awards structural engineering firms for their work on exceedingly complex and innovative projects.
The winners for each of the competition's 12 categories will be named on Nov. 11, in London, along with the recipient of the Regional Group award. At that time, the top honor, the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence, will be given to a project that pushes the boundaries of structural engineering and design. Previous winners of the Supreme Award include the luminous Apple Store Zorlu, in Istanbul, that floats in a reflecting pool, and the world's first long-span suspension bridge, Taizhou Bridge, in Jiangsu, China.
The projects were judged by a panel of structural engineering professionals, comprising: David Nethercot, president of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, in Zurich; Alexander Lynes, senior structural engineer at London-based structural and civil design practice Webb Yates Engineers; Michael Cook, chairman of the U.K.-based engineering consultancy BuroHappold; Tristram Carfrae, Arup deputy chairman; Kayin Dawoodi, senior structural engineer at the Swedish engineering company Sweco; Steve Denton, head of bridges and ground engineering at consulting firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff; Paul Fast, founder of Vancouver-based structural engineer consulting firm Fast + Epp; Ian Firth, chief operating officer of U.K.-based civil and structural engineer consultancy Flint & Neill; Tristram Hope, founder and chairman of THiSolutions, a construction consultancy in the U.K.; Alan Crossman, 2016 President of the Institution of Structural Engineers; Sam Price, founder of London-based structural and civil engineering consultancy Price & Myers; Tara Reale, a technical and commercial adviser with engineering firm Mott MacDonald, in London; Julia Ratcliffe, director of London-based Expedition Engineering; and Peter Terrell, founder and president of French engineering firm Terrell Group Consulting Engineers.
Below are some of our favorites from this year's shortlist. See the full list of projects here.
The judges appreciated the playfulness of this polygonal project, which was designed in 2015 for the annual summer event at the Serpentine Gallery, in London, by Spanish firm SelgasCano with structural engineering work by AECOM. Its steel frame is wrapped with a multicolored, unreinforced, prestressed ETFE fabric that is translucent.
The steel-framed, 10-story building includes a public courtyard that flows into a transportation hub beneath a dramatic cantilever. The triangular structure's three sloped elevations feature Pratt trusses affixed by moment connections in the spandrel beams, resisting gravity and lateral loads.
A rotated, cruciform plan defines this 10-story residential development, in London, bringing together timber, concrete, and steel in its construction.
The prefabricated modular timber panels and timber-beam roof that frame this paleontology museum in northern Alberta, Canada, are intended as a reference to the nearby Pipestone Creek excavation site. (This project received a citation in ARCHITECT's 2015 R+D Awards.)
The estimated $830 million project transformed a 1960s transit building and cluttered concourse into a bustling, modern transportation center. Its roof features an ETFE inflated cushion system supported by curved steel-tube beams held up by two arched trusses.
This 72-foot-tall, cable-stayed pedestrian bridge is intended as an anchor in the recent revitalization of the city of Perth. Tests done to check its response to footfall vibrations during the design phase were confirmed by tests completed on the finished structure.
Ring of Celestial Bliss and Its Re-Use, Hsinchu and Taitung counties, Taiwan
Structural Designer: Envision Engineering
Design Architect: J.J. Pan and Partners Architects and Planners
Category: Small Practices
Originally the main lantern and performance stage in the 2013 Taiwan Lantern Festival, the Ring of Celestial Bliss has been transformed into a semi-outdoor basketball court shrouded by a "lantern" constructed from steel pipes clad in bamboo.
Skymate is an 85-foot-tall park with 54 pod-like landings across four levels that accommodate leisure activities. The project is supported by 16 steel columns, only six of which are anchored to the ground.
These two inflatable pavilions were created for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Each 17,000-square-foot design was constructed from tensile membrane fabric and compressed air. An anchoring system was devised to respond to the wind loads on Toronto's waterfront, where the projects were located.
Wine merchants Berry Bros. and Rudd added a new building for office and hospitality space to the historic row of 2 St James's Street, where the company has been located since 1698. The judges noted the design's handling of structural challenges including broken arches and cellars that were unable to hold additional loads.
The new building houses the Greek National Opera and the National Library. Its lightweight ferrocement canopy includes solar panels, while a network of seismic base isolators help to minimize damage in an earthquake.
Correction: Competition juror Kayin Dawoodi works at Sweco, the Swedish engineering company, not the Kentucky manufacturer of the same name. ARCHITECT regrets the error.