Miho Museum Bridge, Japan

The Outstanding Structure Awards of IABSE were presented by Dr Manabu Ito, President of IABSE, on September 10, 2002, in Melbourne, Australia. The Award 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. 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, at a special ceremony. The Outstanding Structure Award Committee, chaired by Mr Loring A. Wyllie, USA, selected three structures in 2002: The Miho Museum Bridge, Japan; The Stade de France Paris, France; The Oeresund Fixed Link, Denmark - Sweden.

The Miho Museum Bridge, Japan, receives the Outstanding Structure Award for being "a light and airy structure epitomising structural beauty and artistic elegance while preserving the nature reserve below". The Diploma was presented to the Owner Shinji Shumeikai; the Structural Engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates; the Architect I.M. Pei Architect; the Contractor Shimizu Corporation and the Fabricator and Builder Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The site selected for the Miho Museum is on a hilltop peninsula in a forested nature preserve in the Shigaraki Mountains of Japan. There was no acceptable access to the museum site without causing damage to the natural environment. In response to the concerns of the architect, of preserving the natural splendour of the site, a tunnel through the mountain and a bridge across the valley to reach the museum were conceived.

The Miho Museum Bridge spans the deep valley without the intervention of piers rising up from the ground. Erected in 1997, the 120-m long bridge combines key elements of three different structural systems to produce an elegant and highly efficient design. The bridge consists of a combination of cantilevered, cable-stayed and post-tensioned design that produced a shallow bridge (2 meters deep) where the biggest structural member is just 267 mm in diameter.

Plaque Presentation at the Miho Museum Bridge

 (A short report 2002-11-04)

The Plaque of the Outstanding Structure Award 2002 for the Miho Museum Bridge was presented on 2 November 2002 at the bridge site. The Presentation Ceremony started 11 am with the group performance of Japanese traditional drums. More than one hundred participants including Messrs Ito (President of IABSE), K. Takanashi (Vice-President), M. Yamada, Y. Fukumoto, T. Tanabe, A. Wada from the Japanese Group of IABSE, attended the ceremony.

Dr. Ito, in his opening address, referred to the significance and content of the award. The plaque was presented to the representative of the Owner Shinji-Shumeikai. President Ito presented also Diplomas to the Architect: Mr. I.M. Pei, the Structural Engineer: Dr. Leslie E. Robertson and the Owner: Ms. H. Koyama, who could not come to the Presentation Ceremony in Melbourne on September 10, 2002.

In their speeches the awardees, Ms. Koyama, Mr. Pei, Dr. Robertson and Mr. Yoshiyuki Enami, Senior Managing Officer of Shimizu Corporation who was the Contractor of this project, expressed the gratitude for such a prestigeous award being given to this small bridge.

After the Ceremony, there was a guided tour to the Miho Art Museum and the magnificent religious structures of the Shinji-Shumeikai.