On-Site Magazine

Canadian projects up for Structural Awards honours

By Adam Freill   

Bridges Construction Leadership

Global structural engineering awards program puts emphasis on sustainability, social impact and innovation.

2023 Structural Awards finalist, the Nancy Pauw Bridge. (Photo by Paul Zizka)

A pair of Canadian projects have made the 2023 Structural Awards shortlist. The industry recognition program, presented by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), puts a focus on some of the world’s most outstanding building projects. A total of 35 projects made the shortlist this year, with winners set to be announced at an awards ceremony in London, England, in November.

The Nancy Pauw Bridge in Banff, Alta., and the Port Lands Bridges in Toronto will represent Canada as both projects vie for recognition this year. The Nancy Pauw Bridge boasts an impressive 80-metre clear span over the Bow River, connecting Central Park to the Banff Recreation Grounds, while the Port Lands Bridges in Toronto comprise a visually striking trio of bridges, with the design duplicated to create a total of six bridges.

Following the introduction of a new judging process last year, the awards have shifted away from project-based categories to put greater focus on work that reflects and embraces contemporary social, ethical and sustainable standards.


All entries have been judged by a panel of experts led by chair John Orr, a professor of structural engineering at the Cambridge University and a Chartered member of IStructE. The panel used four key judging attributes that exemplify excellent structural engineering achievements: Planet (environmental impact), People (social value and impact on end-users), Process (technical innovation) and Profession (collaboration and advocacy).

While maintaining a focus on achieving structural and professional excellence, the 35 shortlisted projects are also specifically measured on how effectively they’ve integrated Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) strategies.

This involves considering the impact on communities, such as local upskilling, technical advancements, and originality, as well as maintaining a broad perspective as to how the project will benefit the wider profession.

“As society evolves, and the economic and climatic landscape we occupy becomes more challenging, we must acknowledge the significant influence engineers wield over the sustainability of buildings, and their impact on people and the planet,” stated Orr. “Our shortlist showcases this and more, especially the ingenuity of the shortlisted firms and their unparalleled structural engineering expertise, setting a precedent for industry best practice. I hope it serves as a source of inspiration for current, and future generations of engineers worldwide.”

The organization sees the awards as a showcase for the global engineering community to promote circular economic principles within construction and the wider built environment community. To that end, all entries in this year’s awards were required to provide an embodied carbon footprint calculation using the IStructE carbon calculator tool, aligning with the industry’s dedication to reducing the still high embodied carbon within the built environment.




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