Three SOM Projects Win NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards

Three SOM projects have been selected as winners in the annual Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards, organized by the National Council of Structural Engineers Association. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2, the Denver Union Station Train Hall, and the San Bernardino Justice Center were each recognized in separate categories, which were defined by overall project budget. From three winners in each category, a jury will select an additional “Outstanding Project,” which will be announced at an awards banquet in September. 

Located in Mumbai, the recently completed Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2 adds 4.4 million square feet of new space to accommodate 40 million passengers per year. The terminal combines international and domestic passenger services under one roof, optimizing terminal operations and reducing passenger walking distances. The terminal’s roof—one of the largest in the world without an expansion joint—allows the spacing of thirty 40-meter columns to be far enough apart to allow for maximum flexibility in the arrangement of necessary processing facilities. A 50-foot-tall glass cable-stayed wall—the longest in the world—wraps the terminal, allowing accompanying well-wishers to watch as their friends and family depart.

The Denver Union Station Train Hall, which opened this spring, is located on the edge of the capital city’s central business district. The transportation structure was conceived as an efficient and formally expressive means of sheltering multiple railway tracks. Its primary structural system comprises 11 steel “arch trusses” spanning nearly 180 feet, clad in tensioned PTFE fabric. In profile, the canopy rises 70 feet at either end and descends in a dynamic sweep to 22 feet at the center, a gesture that allows the structure to protect the passenger platforms below, while remaining clear of the view corridor established to protect views of the historic station.

The San Bernardino Justice Center consists of two building elements: an 11-story courtroom tower visible on the skyline, and a linear, three-story podium that holds the street edge and correlates to the scale of an adjacent historic courthouse. The building’s 35 courtrooms are stacked into an efficient 200-foot-tall tower. Located within a region of high seismicity and in close proximity to active and potentially active earthquake faults, including the San Jacinto and San Andreas faults, the structure is the first and tallest newly built base-isolated court building in California. The highest level of care was given to the design and construction of the structure to elevate its long-term resiliency. 

According to the National Council of Structural Engineers Association, this awards program “recognizes the strongest examples of structural engineering ingenuity throughout the world. Projects are judged on innovative design, engineering achievement, and creativity.”

Update: Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport received the Most Outstanding Project award, the NCSEA's top honor, on September 19, 2014.