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Steve Jobs Theater wins prestigious engineering award for ‘structural artistry’

The Institute of Structural Engineers has named the winners of the Structural Awards 2018, and the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus has won the award for Structural Artistry …

The institute says the category is all about transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Awarded for projects in which what could otherwise have been an adequate and worthy solution has been transformed by the vision and skill of the structural engineer into something exceptional.

The judges especially admired the way that the wires and pipes which had to run between the roof and the building had been rendered invisible.

This pavilion is the largest structure in the world solely supported by glass. It features a 47m carbon fibre roof, the largest of its kind, comprised of 44 radial panels, which were assembled on site before being raised into position in one lift. This 80 tonne roof is supported by a 7m high glass cylinder, made up of glass panels, each consisting of four layers of 12mm thick plies, which hold up the roof without any additional support […]

The structural systems were designed so that the conduits, sprinkler pipes, data, audio and security systems needed in the roof could be accommodated in the 30mm joints between the glass panels. As Cupertino is in a highly seismic zone, several strategies have been employed to protect the structure against seismic activity.

The building gives the impression that there is nothing but glass between the floor and ceiling.

The institute said that the close relationship between Apple and structural designer Eckersley O’Callaghan & Arup had enabled the ultimate expression of the advances made in structural glass technology.

Across all categories, the Institute of Structural Engineers said that it was looking tor five things.

Excellence: characteristics that place the structural engineering solution well beyond the ordinary, including demonstrable examples of how the structural design enabled the project to meet or exceed the client’s expectations.

Creativity and innovation: examples of originality and the application of new and improved technologies and processes in the structural design, particularly where these have led to greater efficiency and economy in the solution.

Elegance and detailing: engineering structures which demonstrate technical and/or visual elegance, including in the attention to detail, or which contribute to the elegance of the overall design solution.

Sustainability: structural solutions which implement sustainable techniques and technologies, as demonstrated through efficiency, the specification of materials, recycling and reuse, socio-economic factors, carbon reduction and other factors.

Value: economic viability and value for money in the structural solution, as well as non-financial indicators of value.

The overall winner was the Tamina Canyon Crossing in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. This bridge was praised for its grace, elegance, simplicity, clarity and economy.

Last year, Apple’s Kunming Pavilion in China (below) was Commended.

Structural Awards 2018

Thanks, Nic

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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