La Reference shortlisted for two IStructE Awards


La Reference has made the shortlists for two categories in the Institution of Structural Engineers Structural Awards 2019.

The school, which is the result of a pro bono collaboration between Eckersley O'Callaghan and Studio PHH Architects for charity Konekte, has been designed to serve a Haitian community previously devastated by earthquakes and extreme weather.

The judges for the Award for Structures in Extreme Conditions said:

"Being designed to accommodate earthquakes, hurricanes, temperature extremes, limited availability of labour and materials, and a lack of funding to develop all of the school’s aspirations, La Reference is truly built in extreme conditions.

"The design of this first phase of the project has developed as a modular concept that will be followed on future phases. The only materials available locally are concrete, steel, hollow concrete blocks, and corrugated metal.

"Seismic design has been tackled using reinforced blockwork, carefully detailed for practicality and ductility to resist seismic forces. Particularly impressive to the judges was the way in which the engineers communicated their design – using a limited palette of details, rationalising reinforcing bar sizes, and presenting their design in such a way that their drawings could be understood by any of the workforce in spite of personnel often speaking only one of three different languages.

"There is no shop drawing process in Haiti, so the engineers prepared fully detailed drawings for the roof trusses, providing step-by-step instructions on the installation process. The first phase of 2000m2 was completed in only nine months and was immediately occupied by 150 new students."

The judges for the Award for Sustainability said:

"This pro-bono-designed school project in Haiti pulls together numerous potential structural engineering aspects of sustainable design.

"Following the recent devastation caused by earthquakes and hurricanes, pragmatic solutions have been required in order to rebuild.

"This school project not only exemplifies a resistant structural solution, but it does so in close collaboration with local engineers and construction teams.

"All documentation and processes were methodically designed to develop local understanding of structural behaviour and become educational tools for replication, ensuring a social legacy within and beyond this specific project.

"Design decisions incorporated local materials and skill-availability, with the challenging design loads and respective detailing.

"Limited resources required creative design approaches and innovative solutions to develop ductile connections resistant to earthquakes with minimal additional material from traditional seismic construction.

"All this was achieved whilst coordinating with other disciplines for natural ventilation, daylighting and acoustic performance, ultimately providing a nourishing educational atmosphere."

Coal Drops Yard, for which Eckersley O'Callaghan provided specialist glass and facade design, has also made the shortlist for the Award for Structural Transformation.

The winning projects will be announced on 15 November.

You can see the full shortlist here.