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SSDA 2020, Foreword, Introduction and Judges


By Richard Fletcher, Regional Business Director, Trimble Buildings.

Although Trimble have been involved with the Structural Steel Design Awards for a relatively short time, we continue to be impressed with scale, scope and complexity of the projects submitted. The flexibility of steel shines through with the variety of the entrants and the use of advanced digitalisation that the structural steel industry has embraced as an enabler for the design, detail and manufacture of such impressive structures.

As we look to construction to be at the forefront of assisting in the drive to return the economy back to pre-coronavirus levels, healthy, innovative and diverse structural steel and structural engineering industries will together form a significant part of that recovery.

The entrants and winners of the SSDA in 2020 demonstrate that our industry is in a strong place and on behalf of Trimble I would like to congratulate the winning project teams.

Photo: © David Levene 2019


By Christopher Nash RIBA – Chairman of the Judging panel

Keeping a sense of normality during a global pandemic has been difficult for everyone. The SSDA judging process was this year constrained by the national lockdown, as our usual visits to see, understand and experience shortlisted projects ‘in the flesh’, and to meet the project teams in person were not possible. So, for the first time in the 52 years of the award scheme, we relied on technology to examine the entries online, and understand the shortlisted projects with entries presented by the project teams remotely.

Again, this year I was very pleased to moderate the discussions of our talented team of architects, engineering designers and experts from the steel fabrication industry. It was beneficial that our team of judges has remained constant as, without being able to actually meet in person, in our familiarity we could still rely on the opinions being argued robustly over the airwaves. As usual members of the panel brought their normal enthusiasm and enjoyment to the job, as well as fair-minded professional judgement.

This year there was a wide range of types of projects entered for the scheme. Scales of entry range from the largest prestige city office buildings, to smaller educational projects, and beautiful footbridges. The judges were particularly interested in projects that reflected a reuse of existing structures, and those that exemplified the logistics of overcoming time and spacial constraints, rather than just the beauty of the finished projects.

As in previous years a preliminary selection was made on the basis of a close examination of the entry documents. The entrants of resultant shortlisted schemes were then invited to present their project by ‘MS Teams’ or ‘Zoom’ to at least two judges from different disciplines. I want to thank and pay tribute here to the project teams for in every case working so well in getting together online and presenting such excellent and clear explanations of their projects and answering the judges’ questions. Well done everyone for making the case for your entries so well!

The awards, commendations, merits and national finalists rewarded by the scheme reflect the achievements of the current steel construction industry. Everyone involved should be proud of what has been achieved. I believe that, notwithstanding the difficulties encountered this year, the Structural Steel Design Awards still reflect the quality of the achievement and look forward to a return to normal operations next year.

The Judges

Christopher Nash is a senior Consultant Architect. He graduated in 1978 from Bristol University School of Architecture, and was at Grimshaw Architects from 1982, becoming a Director from 1992, Managing Partner from 1998 to 2008, and retiring from the Partnership in 2012. While at Grimshaw he was responsible for many of the practice’s high profile buildings. These include – from his early years – the Financial Times Printing Works in London’s Docklands and the British Pavilion for the Seville Expo 92, The Western Morning News headquarters in Plymouth, the RAC Regional Headquarters in Bristol and many other projects. Following the success of the Zurich Airport fifth expansion project, he returned to a smaller scale of work with the Cutty Sark Conservation Project. Chris continues to practise as a consultant in architectural practice management, architectural education and property development.

Richard Barrett was Managing Director of Barrett Steel Buildings for over 20 years prior to its sale in 2007 in a management buyout, and is a Director of steel stockholder Barrett Steel. Richard studied engineering at Cambridge University, graduating in 1978. At Barrett Steel Buildings, he developed the business into a leading specialist in the design and build of steel-framed buildings for structures such as distribution warehouses, retail parks, schools, offices and hospitals. He was President of the BCSA from 2007 to 2009, and was a member of BCSA’s Council from 1994 to 2017.

Paul Hulme joined Robert Watson & Co as an apprentice draughtsman in 1981. In the following 36 years he held positions in all areas of the company, gaining appreciation of all aspects of the steelwork industry, most recently in the role of Project Director. Over the years Paul has been fortunate to be involved in many complex steel structures, both in UK and abroad. Most notable are Kansai and Hong Kong airports, Terminal 5 roof, London 2012 Olympic Stadium and Wimbledon Centre Court Redevelopment. Paul currently works as an independent consultant offering design and buildability advice to the construction industry. Paul is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineering.

Sarah Pellereau is an Associate at Price & Myers with 19 years’ experience. She has been involved in a number of award-winning schemes including leading a project shortlisted for the Stirling prize. As a Structural Engineer, she is rare in having graduated with a Part 1 in Architecture as well as a Masters in Engineering from the University of Leeds. She has a diverse portfolio of experiences in structural design but also has worked on-site with the CTRL alterations to St Pancras Station and tutored at Nottingham University.

Roger Plank is a structural engineer and, having recently retired as Professor of Architecture and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield, is currently a director of Vulcan Solutions Ltd offering software and consultancy services in fire engineering. He has collaborated extensively with the steel construction sector in the fields of fire engineering and sustainability, and is a Past President of the Institution of Structural Engineers.


Julia Ratcliffe is an independent Structural Engineering consultant and founded scale consulting in 2018 after twelve years working with Expedition Engineering and as a Director of the practice from 2011. In her career, she has worked for major consultancies in the UK and overseas as well as with international development organisations. Her design projects range from towers, bridges and cultural institutions to residential masterplans, refurbishments and private houses. She is a fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers and a Professional Engineer, licensed in the state of Connecticut, USA, a Design Council CABE built environment expert and has served on award judging panels for RIBA London and the IStructE as well as the BCSA.

Bill Taylor is an architect in private practice. Having joined architects Michael and Patty Hopkins straight from Sheffield School of Architecture in 1982, he became their partner in 1988. He was a pivotal figure in the development and success of the practice both in the UK and overseas and was responsible for a large number of award-winning projects, many of which received a Structural Steel Design Award. Bill is a founding member of Tensinet, the pan European organization researching lightweight and tensile construction. In 2010 Bill left Michael and Patty to concentrate on his own projects and from 2012 has collaborated with architect Robin Snell and his practice. He has been a member of the RIBA National Awards Group and CABE Panels and is a Senior Assessor and Client Adviser for the RIBA competitions programme.

Oliver Tyler joined Wilkinson Eyre Architects (WEA) in 1991 becoming a Director in 1999. He has spent over 25 years in architectural practice and has extensive experience in leading and coordinating the design and construction of many high profile buildings and infrastructure projects. Oliver has led a number of prestigious projects at WEA including Stratford Regional Station in London for the Jubilee Line Extension; the Dyson Headquarters in Wiltshire, regional headquarters for Audi in west London, the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool, the UK’s first urban cable car, the Emirates Air Line and most recently a new office building in Finsbury Circus. Oliver is currently leading a number of major infrastructure and commercial office schemes in the City of London, including Liverpool Street Station for Crossrail, the Bank Station capacity upgrade project and a 50-storey office tower on Leadenhall Street.

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