Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

The 2001 Outstanding Structure Award of IABSE was presented to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain by Mr Klaus Ostenfeld, President of IABSE, on March 21, 2001 in Malta. The Award Presentation Ceremony took place on the occasion of the Annual Meetings of IABSE.

The Award recognises the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structures completed within the last few years or completed by the award ceremony. It consists of a Diploma each for the Engineer, the Architect, the Contractor, and the Owner, as well as a plaque to be fixed to the winning structure. The Outstanding Structure Award Committee, chaired by Professor Joerg Schlaich, Germany, selected two structures in 2001: the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain and the Sunniberg Bridge, Switzerland.

The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao completed 1997, receives the Award for "the use of imaginative engineering applications that made possible this exciting architecture." The Diplomas were presented to the Structural Engineer Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP, Chicago, the Architect Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Santa Monica, the Architect/Engineer of Record IDOM, Bilbao, the Contractor URSSA, S. Coop., Vitoria-Gasteiz and to the Owner Fundacion del Museo Guggenheim Bilbao.

The Museum design is geometrically complex, consisting of a series of interconnected building masses. The innovative use of structural steel for advanced structural latticed grids creates fantastic free structural forms, enabling a relatively simple structure to be used for forming a complex shape. The Guggenheim Museum is an excellent example of what structural engineering can do to support outstanding architecture. Provocative and challenging, this building questions an engineer's current way of thinking. Inspirational, it demonstrates that there are no geometrical limits to the built form.