Stade de France, Paris, France

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 Stade de France, Paris, France, receives the Outstanding Award for "an outstanding structure and stadium expressing exciting architecture open to the city, with natural light and elegant lines". The Diploma is presented to the Owner Consortium Stade de France; the Structural Engineers: Jean Bard, Michel Levesque, Jean-René Martin; the Contractors Bouygues Construction and Vinci Construction; the Architects Macary & Zublena and Costantini & Regembal.

At the end of December 1993, in view of the July 1998 World Football Cup, France, the host country, opened a tender for a concession and construction of a great stadium in the north of Paris. The project was awarded, among 18 other projects in October 1994. A concession was signed in April 1995 granting the Consortium the contract to finance, design, build and operate this great 80'000-seater stadium for 30 years. The construction of the Stade de France was completed on time, in October 1997.

Among the many interesting features of this construction, it is appropriate to mention the roof of the Stade de France, which is a major architectural component because of its design, conceived more as a sculpture than a standard functional cover for spectators. The architects had a flat disk in mind, like a laser CD, pierced by 18 thin needles without any visible supporting columns, and suspended over the head of spectators.

The technological challenge dictated by such a structure of 62'000 square meters for only 8'400 t of structural steel, proceeds from this will leading to obliterate the view of sustaining structures, and to render it enigmatic to a non-experienced eye.