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SSDA 2019 – Introduction

By Christopher Nash RIBA – Chairman of the Judging panel.

Again this year I was very pleased to moderate the deliberations of our talented judging team comprising a balance of architectural and engineering designers and experts from the steel fabrication industry. All members of the panel always bring enthusiasm and enjoyment to the job, as well as fair-minded dispassionate judgement, and this year has been no exception.

This year there has been a greater variety in the types of projects entered for the scheme.

Scales of entry range from the largest sports building projects, through prestige city and regional office buildings, to smaller educational projects. While there are no residential projects this year, we see an increase in high quality leisure sector projects and footbridges.

As in previous years, a preliminary selection was made on the basis of a close examination of the entry documents. I would like to make a plea for the initial entry documents, particularly photographs of projects, to be of high quality and comprehensively descriptive so that the panel can make as informed an initial judgement as possible. The entrants of resultant shortlisted schemes from the initial ‘desk-top’ selection were all then notified and each project was visited by at least two judges from different disciplines.

At this point I’d like to pass my thanks to the hosting teams who went out of their way to be present to answer the judges detailed questions. Unlike some other award schemes, we believe it is essential to get down close and personal with the entered projects before making our final assessments. The project teams’ demonstration of collaboration always comes through and is a major part in our assessment of the entry. Projects that are represented by an informed and enthusiastic team are a step ahead.

There are jaw-dropping achievements here, and beautiful gems. I believe everyone involved in the steel construction industry should be proud of what has been achieved, and I trust that the Structural Steel Design Awards reflect the quality of the achievement.

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 17 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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