The largest structure in the world solely supported by glass

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The Institution of Structural Engineers’ 2018 Award for Structural Artistry goes to Apple’s Steve Jobs Theater Pavilion.


Full text of the Judge’s comment:

The Steve Jobs Theater Pavilion represents a culmination of the advances in structural glass technology born from the close relationship between Apple and EOC. The 47m carbon fibre roof is the largest of its kind, comprised of 44 radial panels, which were assembled on site before being raised into position in one lift. This 80 tonne roof is supported by a 7m high glass cylinder, made up of glass panels, each consisting of four layers of 12mm thick plies, which hold up the roof without any additional support. It is the largest structure in the world solely supported by glass.

The structural systems were designed so that the conduits, sprinkler pipes, data, audio and security systems needed in the roof could be accommodated in the 30mm joints between the glass panels. As Cupertino is in a highly seismic zone, several strategies have been employed to protect the structure against seismic activity.

My take: If you have time, check out the winners in the other 14 categories, from Structural Engineering Excellence to Outstanding Value and Sustainability. Here’s how the Structural Artistry prize is described:

Awarded for projects in which what could otherwise have been an adequate and worthy solution has been transformed by the vision and skill of the structural engineer into something exceptional.

Yup. That’s Apple.

See also: Apple v. Pepper: This is what makes it interesting