A few weeks ago, the British Institute of Structural Engineers published the winners of their international Structural Awards 07. I like some of the winning projects better than others, but there is a little bit of everything among them – slender bridges, complex geometry roofs, intelligent systems for earthquake-resistant structures, even buildings made of lime hemp blocks… but do you know what I could hardly find? Concrete… in return, the term “sustainable” appears in various occasions.
British engineers have surprised me, getting closer to the issue of sustainability, recognising the efforts of professionals who choose their materials to minimise environmental impact; professionals who bear in mind the life cycle of their structures, not only how much money the contractor can save today on a job, the future of which they don’t care about….
Steel prevails in the winning projects. I do know this is the British construction tradition, but I like to think that it is so for many reasons, some of which are positive. If it can favour future rehabilitation, dismantling or recycling of the structures, so much the better.
Despite the British society having apparently taken advantage of general concern about sustainability with their business around “carbon footprints”, I am pleased to see this effort for promoting concern about the environment among yet another group; in this case, structural engineers.