Today, the Institution of Structural Engineers announces the winners of the Structural Awards 2021. Now in its 54th year, this hotly contested programme celebrates the very best work across the global structural engineering community.

The winners were chosen from a list of 53 pioneering projects and judged according to their creativity, quality and sustainability as well as the ingenuity of the engineering team behind them.

Eight UK-based projects picked up an award or a commendation at Friday night’s ceremony.

Particular highlights included the Award for Structural Transformation, which went to Lincoln’s Inn Field’s Ashworth Centre and Library Extension , the Award for Zero Carbon Ambition to The Office Group’s York House and The Award for Vehicle Bridges to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge over the River Barrow.

These, and the other winning UK-based projects, recognise the high global regard in which the country’s structural engineering community continues to be held.

Project: Ashworth Centre and Library Extension – Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Engineer: Eckersley O’Callaghan

Winner: The Award for Structural Transformation

Project: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge over the River Barrow

Engineer: Arup and Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L.

Winner: The Award for Vehicle Bridges

Project: York House, London, UK

Engineer: Webb Yates

Winner: The Award for Zero-Carbon Ambition 

Further afield, a diverse range of structures were recognised across 13 categories, from the ultra-modern, aesthetically stunning Taiyuan Botanical Garden Domes (Award for Structural Artistry (Building Structures)) to the robust and resilient Atrio North Tower (Award for Structures in Extreme Conditions).

This year’s entries perfectly underline how structural engineers around the world are responding to emerging issues in construction, particularly the climate challenge. Many of the shortlisted and winning projects showcase adapted approaches, designed to deliver the same exceptional work in a more eco-friendly way.

Project: Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand

Engineer: Holmes Consulting

Joint Winner: Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence

Project: Lille Langebro, Copenhagen, Denmark

Engineer: Buro Happold

Joint Winner: Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence

The coveted Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence, presented to the year’s most outstanding example of structural engineering design, was jointly awarded.

Both Christchurch Town Hall, New Zealand (also received The Award for Structural Heritage) and Lille Langebro, Denmark (also The Award for Pedestrian Bridges) were singled out for the highest accolade.

The judging panel, chaired by former IStructE President, Professor Tim Ibell, were unanimous in their praise of the project’s structural engineers, Holmes Consulting (Christchurch Town Hall) and Buro Happold (Lille Langebro).

They highlighted the technical complexity of both firms’ work as the stand-out feature on the two projects, setting them apart from the other winners.

They felt Christchurch Town Hall, with significant portions of the site being upgraded, repaired, and restored, in a post-earthquake setting, offered the full spectrum of structural and geotechnical challenges.

For Lille Langebro, they highlighted the pedestrian bridge’s elegant design which, as it incorporates a complex geometry, had demanded excellence in structural design and detailing.

On both projects, the judges were also impressed by the structural designers’ precision, especially in dealing with very challenging constraints and highly specific requirements. They added the attention to detail throughout both Supreme Award-winners is exemplary, and an excellent showcase of the care and skill required of structural engineers worldwide.

Commenting on this year’s programme, Professor Ibell says, “Massive congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all those who entered. What this year’s submissions demonstrated is how there’s been a shift in attitudes towards green building. No doubt we’ll see sustainability become a non-negotiable project requirement, as important as structural integrity, safety and comfort.”

He continues, “It will also influence the way these awards are judged going forward, becoming an essential part of the application process. It will help demonstrate how our profession is playing a key role in reducing waste and protecting the environment.”