The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) announced the winners of its Structural Awards 2023, in a celebration of some of the world’s most impressive structural engineering achievements.

This year, the coveted 2023 Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence was awarded to Canadian-based structural engineering and timber construction firm, StructureCraft for its work on The Nancy Pauw Bridge in Banff, Alta.

The 80-metre bridge spans the Bow River, connecting the town’s Central Park to its Recreation Grounds, and pays tribute to Nancy Pauw, a well-known Banff resident and keen cyclist.

Judged according to four core attributes: Planet, People, Process and Profession, this year’s overall winner perfectly encapsulated IStructE’s increasing focus on the societal and environmental role of structural engineers.

The prestigious award not only recognizes a commitment to sustainable construction but also showcases StructureCraft’s impressive skill and ingenuity.

The team designed the bridge to have no impact on the river’s varied yet delicate ecosystem. This was achieved with a clear and low-profile span, which blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

Going further, StructureCraft directly answered the project’s sustainability brief – using natural and engineered timber throughout the entirety of the bridge. This employed a clever combination of a shallow arch, using a natural alternative to steel called Glulam for the girders, and weathering steel haunches to ensure structural stability. They also ensured optimal vibration performance with a central-tuned mass damper. This unique feature tunes the bridge to walking and jogging frequencies, reducing vibrations and resulting in an impressive, slender, long-span timber structure.

The judges hailed the project as an inspiring example of structural engineering, which “truly embodied all four judging attributes.”

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Commenting on this year’s winners, chair of the Judging Panel and Chartered Member of IStructE, Professor John Orr said, “A massive congratulations to the StructureCraft team. Its work on the Nancy Pauw Bridge not only demonstrates the vital and important work structural engineers perform, but it showcases their unique problem-solving skills and ability to deliver structures which impact positively on social and environmental issues.

“They were joined by a host of other impressive winners, recognized for their intelligent use of materials, circular approaches to design and low-carbon construction. Now in its second year, the new attribute-based judging framework is helping to paint a better picture of how structural engineers are supporting a safer and more sustainable built environment.”

Eleven other shortlisted projects were awarded a 2023 prize, chosen for their positive social impact, innovation, ingenuity and contribution to the structural engineering profession. Not only that, each project was praised for its implementation of environmentally-friendly structural solutions, with a special emphasis on reducing embodied carbon.

A full list of these firms, and their winning projects, as well as the judges’ comments, can be found here.

Featured image: StructureCraft’s Nancy Pauw Bridge in Banff, Alta., winner of the The Institution of Structural Engineers’ 2023 Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence. (©Paul Zizka)


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