On-Site Magazine

Canadian bridge tops 2023 Structural Awards

By Adam Freill   

Bridges Construction Construction Materials Green Construction

StructureCraft's Nancy Pauw Bridge has won the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence from IStructE.

Nancy Pauw Bridge. (Photo: © Paul Zizka)

The Nancy Pauw Bridge in Banff, Alta., has been recognized as the highest prize, the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence at this year’s Structural Engineering Awards. The awards, presented by Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) put an annual spotlight on some of the world’s most impressive structural engineering achievements.

Over the weekend, the organization unveiled the winning project, awarded to Canadian-based structural engineering and timber construction firm, StructureCraft, from a field of 35 candidates vying for top honours.

The 80-metre Nancy Pauw Bridge spans the Bow River, connecting the Banff’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, the institute explained that this year’s overall winner perfectly encapsulated IStructE’s increasing focus on the societal and environmental role of structural engineers.


The StructureCraft team designed the bridge to have no impact on the river’s varied yet delicate ecosystem, creating a clear and low-profile span designed to blend in seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

On the sustainability front, the bridge uses natural and engineered timber throughout, employing a clever combination of a shallow arch, using glulam for the girders, and weathering steel haunches to ensure structural stability. Optimal vibration performance is achieved with a central-tuned mass damper. This unique feature tunes the bridge to walking and jogging frequencies, reducing vibrations along the 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.”

“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,” stated John Orr, chair of the judging panel and chartered member of IStructE. “They were joined by a host of other impressive winners, recognised for their intelligent use of materials, circular approaches to design and low-carbon construction.”

Eleven other projects, chosen for their positive social impact, innovation, ingenuity and contribution to the structural engineering profession, were also awarded a 2023 prize, and another Canadian project, the Port Lands Bridges in Toronto, found itself on the shortlist. A full listing of winners and the shortlist can be found on the IStructE website.

The Structural Awards, an international competition, have been celebrating the work of structural engineers for more than 50 years. Past winners have included such iconic structures as the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Severn Bridge between England and Wales.




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