Engineering success for young innovators

Written on the 17 April 2009

 

A BRISBANE duo has taken the top prize at the Young Structural Engineers’ International Design Competition in London and one of them is still yet to graduate.
Arup structural engineer Scott Rathie and QUT architecture student Angela Barbeler received $14,400 combined for their entry ‘Kami Stadium’, as a hypothetical structure if Tokyo wins their bid for the 2016 Olympics.
Rathie had only recently graduated when he read the brief about the competition in March last year, and as the structure type appealed to him he got in contact with one of the only designers he knew - Barbeler.
Barbeler says she undertook the project because it was a good opportunity to get experience working with someone on an engineering and structural basis and while the concept was good she didn’t expect it to win.
“It’s not that I didn’t think the project was any good, but I’m still a student and I’ve never entered a competition before, let alone an international one,” says Barbeler.
“It was definitely a confidence-building exercise for me – I now have the confidence that creating great buildings is achievable.”
She has been working at Spring Hill architecture firm Fulton Trotter during her studies and points to Brisbane as a great architectural working environment, with particular emphasis on sustainable building practices.
“It was good to show the world that we’re here, we do have some good ideas and there’s a lot going on,” says Barbeler.
“I was really proud to be a Queenslander over there to be honest.”
Their concept fit in well with the Tokyo 2016 bid for a vision of legacy, sustainability and development, and with the design functioning as a baseball stadium and multi-use exhibition hall it was culturally appropriate too.
Rathie says he was surprised when they won two awards for the competition, as they received the Drury Medal for the best under-25 entrant as well - they were both 22 at the time.
“It was a pretty big task to enter and out of the 90 teams that had registered there were just 17 that completed their projects,” says Rathie.
“It was an absolute honour to win as one of the younger entries. It was a great experience and I was fortunate to have such a great collaborator working with me — Angela and I spent many hours working on the brief, doing brainstorm sessions and exercises and developing the concept together.
 “The recognition from both the Educational Trust and my colleagues is a great feeling and such an encouragement to me at this stage in my career.”
 Rathie says there hasn’t been any follow up yet about using the stadium design for the Olympic bid, but it is a structural area he would like to be involved with in the future.
Arup was involved in designing the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, as well as Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, the Goodwill Bridge and the Kurilpa Bridge.

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