William Ian Liddell, UK

On the occasion of the Annual Meetings of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering in Melbourne, Dr Manabu Ito, President of IABSE, presented the 2002 International Award of Merit, to Mr William Ian Liddell on September 10, 2002 "in recognition of his major contributions to the field of structural engineering, particularly for innovations in wide-span lightweight fabric, steel and cable structures".

Ian Liddell was born in 1938. Having studied Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge, he joined Ove Arup and Partners to work on the roof of the Sydney Opera House and the South Bank Arts Centre. After two years, he did a post-graduate course at Imperial College, concentrating on prestressed concrete and shell structures. Ian Liddell then joined contractors Holst and Company and was engineer for a number of industrial concrete structures. He returned to Ove Arup and Partners to work on the Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 1974 he was the engineer in charge of the timber lattice shell at Mannheim and since then moved into the field of lightweight tension and fabric structures. Since 1976 Ian Liddell has been a Partner of Buro Happold and has been responsible for a wide range of projects. In 1980 he pushed forward the development of software for the form-finding and analysis of fabric structures and designed a number of fabric projects with special innovative structural engineering features. He was also responsible for introducing a plastic foil called EFTE ( ethyl-tetra-fluor-ethylene) as a cladding material for environmental enclosures.

Ian Liddell was responsible for major projects particularly the cable hall for the Millennium Exhibition at Greenwich and a rotating tower for Glasgow as well as stadia and atrium structures. He has recently been appointed Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in the principles of engineering design, at the University of Cambridge.

The International Award of Merit in Structural Engineering is conferred for outstanding contributions in the field of structural engineering, with special reference to their usefulness to society. Contributions may include various aspects of Planning, Design, Construction, Materials, Equipment, Education, Research, Government, and Management.