Banff’s Nancy Pauw Bridge wins award for structural engineering excellence 


Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) presented the 2023 supreme award for structural engineering excellence to Canadian-based structural engineering and timber construction firm, StructureCraft for 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.

StructureCraft worked with the following key contractors:

  • Thurber Engineering Ltd (Geotechnical Engineer)
  • ground cubed (Landscape Architect, Lighting Designer)
  • Avens Consulting, RAM Consulting (Environmental Consultant)

IStructE’s annual Structural Awards recognize some of the world’s most significant structural engineering projects.

Judged for four core attributes: Planet, People, Process and Profession, the award recognizes a commitment to sustainable construction, skill and engenuity.

“As a Structural Awards judge, it’s been very heartening to see the strong and increased awareness in the 2023 entries Structural engineers are more aware of their responsibilities to the environment and particularly reducing embodied carbon,” said judge Toby McLean. “This year has a really encouraging number of entries where the environmental impact was at the top of the design agenda and it is exciting to see engineers bringing the client and design team with them on that journey.”

The Nancy Pauw bridge was designed with a clear and low-profile span, to ensure no impact on the river’s delicate ecosystem.

Also, the project used natural and engineered timber throughout the entirety of the bridge – with a 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.

Judges called the project “an inspiring example of structural engineering” which “truly embodied all four judging attributes.”

“This spectacular timber arch bridge has an 80m clear span,” the judging panel commented. “The technical challenges of the incredibly shallow arch were expertly overcome by the engineers. Vibration damping was well considered, and an innovative tuned mass damper installed.

“The project team has responded to the considerable structural, environmental, and ecological challenges to deliver a bridge that celebrates the natural environment of Banff through the use of natural materials. A fantastic example of technically adept ‘light touch’ engineering.

Eleven other shortlisted projects were awarded for their positive social impact, innovation, ingenuity and contribution to the structural engineering profession.A full list of winning projects click this link.




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