Annual Awards

2020 Excellence in Engineering Awards

The 2020 annual ACSE Awards for Excellence in Engineering were presented on Wednesday 2 December 2020 (postponed from MArch due to Covid). The event was a hybrid live event with an online broadcast, hosted at the offices of Mott Mac. There were 29 submissions across the 6 categories.

2020 Awards Judging Panel:

Joyce Lee – President, ACSE NSW
Prof. Brian Uy – Head of School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney
Greg Ewing – General Manager, Engineers Australia – NSW & ACT Division
Andrew Nimmo – NSW Chapter President, Australian Institute of Architects
Tim Hogan – 2019 Gold Medal Winner
Trudy Myers – Retiring ACSE Board Member

Read our judges notes and comments.

Award for Large Building Projects

Taylor Thomson Whitting

Phoenix is a multifaceted building with a performance space and a private art gallery, the two spaces connected by a central garden. As each half of the structure had its own architect, co-ordination between TTW, the architects, and the construction team was critical to the success of the project.

The five storey concrete frame was built with several inclined walls, including large voids, creating complicated load paths through the structure. Engineered with complex curves across the street frontage and through the centre of the building, an impressive 8m high double circular window sits in a compound curved masonry wall framed in structural steel.

This unique facility created further demands on the engineering such as numerous curved off-form concrete walls and soffits, a large atrium with one of the galleries hanging from the slab above, and an elegant timber dome constructed within the performance space. The buildings and gardens are linked at many levels, above and below ground, allowing for an intense interlocking of performance, nature and art. Phoenix is a canvas for an open and changing art collection, music and yet to be conceived performance art. The result is a spectacular building.

View the Submission

Award for Medium Building Projects


The Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney Olympic Park has received a new lightweight tensile roof structure – converting it into a multi-purpose, all weather facility to attract major sporting and cultural events. The selection of a self-resolving circular tension structure cleverly utilised the design basis of the original stadium, and allowed a new 100m diameter clear spanning roof to be added with no additional foundations and minimal modification to the existing bowl structure, maintaining the integrity and beauty of the original Sulman Award-winning design originally purpose-built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

With the requirement to deliver a roof for the inaugural ATP cup to be held at the venue in January 2020, Tennis NSW, funded by the NSW Office of Sport, the project was conceived and delivered on an extremely tight timeframe within a 12 month period, necessitating a digital, collaborative, and alternative approach to traditional documentation, with all structural works documented and information transferred in digital models between the engineer, shop detailer, fabricator, and contractor. With the addition of operable walls between bowl and roof, the arena will be used through the autumn, winter, and spring for the Suncorp Super Netball, and other sporting and cultural events, finally achieving a significant and highly sustainable legacy for venue.

View the Submission

Award for Small Building Projects


High Commendation:

The Balmain House project involved excavation depths of 10m; design of sandstone sea-walls; remediation of an 1880’s sandstone heritage cottage; expressed timber framing; a steel-framed tension tie roof and a steel helical stair; off-form cast insitu concrete structure; heated polished concrete floor toppings; brass balustrades and furniture items; bespoke large format steel framed windows with cast-in reveals; and a 5m cantilever floor plate hung from curved off-form concrete walls acting as deep beams with large voids in the back-span.

Engineering design and documentation for the project commenced in May 2015. Construction on site commenced in July 2016 and the project was completed in February 2019. Partridge documented the project using AutoCAD and prepared 24 x A1 drawing sheets

View the Submission

Whale Beach House project required and utilised a vast array of disciplines, materials, innovation, and skills: Off-form concrete; structural steel; masonry; timber; glass; aluminium; excavation; temporary shoring; foundation & retention piling; a swimming pool; landscaping; pavements; bridges; fall-arrest systems; and more.

The project was characterised and defined by its high-quality finishes and low tolerances; the incredibly difficult access on a very steeply sloping site; difficult geotechnical and slope stability issues; and a construction sequence that had to carefully consider materials handling and movement/control joint issues. From a design perspective, the structure presented enormous challenges – chiefly in the form of long spans, huge cantilevers, heavy superimposed loads, and shallow profiles.

View the Submission

Award For Unusual Building Projects

Robert Bird Group

The heritage-listed iconic Pyrmont Bridge commenced construction in 1899 and officially opened in 1902. Over the past century, it has operated as the primary gateway to the Sydney CBD from Pyrmont. Originally designed for horse and cart, the Bridge has since provided a path for buses, trams, monorails and in more recent times by pedestrians and bicycles.

The Bridge consists of 14 timber truss spans, each 25m long with a total span of approximately 370m. Arguably Pyrmont Bridge’s most impressive feature is its electric swing span, the first of its kind in the world. The swing span pivots about a central pier to provide access into the harbour for larger boats, the swing path opens over 300 times per year.

Pyrmont Bridge requires ongoing maintenance commensurate with a public timber bridge that is over 100 years old. A significant percentage of structural components like timber trusses and piers required replacement. Stage 1 of restoration involved replacing the Timber Pier Sets, and Stage 2 would see the replacement of the timber trusses. Robert Bird Group (RBG) was engaged to provide the construction engineering methodology for the now completed Stage 1.

View the Submission

Awards for People of the Year

Female Engineer of the Year:
Taylor Thomson Whitting

Emerging Engineer of the Year:
Robert Bird Group

Whilst only a graduate, on the detailed design of the Casey Specialist Centre in Berwick, Victoria. Emma followed this project through to the construction phase and carried out regular inspections on all structural elements. With the successful completion of the project, she was then given opportunities to become a lead design engineer in both Victoria and South Australia.

A big thinker and thirsty for more challenges, Emma moved to Sydney in 2018 where she joined TTW as a senior structural engineer. She brought with her a wealth of design experience in aged care, health and educational sectors. Emma relishes the opportunity to work collaboratively in a team where she promotes innovation and creativity. Her strong communication skills and ability to take initiative combined with her project management skills, led Emma to her recent promotion to Associate. Emma is the structural lead on the current $463million Pitt Street Metro Station project.

View the Submission

In 2012 Nick was awarded the Cooperative Scholarship at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) which was sponsored by RBG. As part of this scholarship Nick completed his first 6-month internship in the RBG Sydney office in 2013. Since being promoted to Design Engineer in May 2017, he has gained significant experience across the many different aspects of structural engineering.

Nick is now the lead structural engineer on the $2 billion Crown Hotel Resorts Sydney project.

Nick’s passion lies in learning by constantly researching, listening and studying all different industries he is excited to discover how we can leverage this knowledge to transform the built environment.

View the Submission

Gold Medal Award
Eric Smith

The ACSE Board of Director’s is delighted to present this year’s Gold Medal to Eric Smith.

Eric’s contribution to our industry is vast and informs much of our work today.

Eric has experience in a wide variety of projects through all stages of development — covering feasibility studies, costing and financial planning, design and preparation of documents and site supervision. His experience includes model and computer studies of structures, design, documentation and site attendance of all structures from bridges, heritage structures, carparks, shopping centres to high rise residential and commercial developments. Eric’s design experience covers both reinforced and prestressed concrete and steel with associated welding technology. He also worked with Industry in the development of a testing regime for Autoclaved Aerated Concrete.

One of his most recent highlights was Burj Dubai, the 828m high skyscraper in Dubai UAE and the tallest building in the world since 2009. Hyder Consulting were the supervising engineers with Eric serving as Project Director.

He is a very worthy recipient of the ACSE Gold Medal Award. Thank you Eric!