ICE London Awards: Civil engineers reveal top London projects of 2011


7 MARCH 2011

East London Line extension receives Greatest Contribution to London Award

7 March 2011: The replacement and extension of the East London Line has been awarded the top trophy at the ICE London Civil Engineering Awards 2011. Twelve infrastructure and building projects were shortlisted for the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) annual awards, which are sponsored by Mott MacDonald and Ramboll. A total of five projects received honours including Barclays Cycle Hire, the London 2012 Velodrome, the Thames Barrier and the National Tennis Centre’s new Sports Canopy. In addition to winning the overall award, the East London Line also received the Community Award.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“The extension of the East London Line means Londoners can now whizz from one side of the city to the other and Barclays Cycle hire has been a massive success with nearly three million journeys taking place on the blue bikes. I am thrilled these major transport schemes have been embraced by Londoners, to be honoured with a civil engineering award on top of that really is the icing on the cake.”

Miranda Housden, Director of ICE London, said:

“All of the winning projects benefit Londoners and visitors to London, showcasing the vital contribution that engineers make to the life of the city. I congratulate all involved.”

Judgements on engineering excellence were based on criteria such as innovation, creativity, sustainability, health and safety and social value. Previous winners include the London 2012 Olympic Park, Heathrow Terminal 5A, Hampton Water Treatment Works and Wembley Stadium.

The ICE London Civil Engineering Awards 2011 winners are:

The East London Line received the Greatest Contribution to London Award and the Community Award

Location: Between Dalston and New Cross Gate

Contractor: Balfour Beatty Carillion Joint Venture

Designer: URS-Scott Wilson & Tony Gee & Partners

Client Independent Technical Advisor: Mott MacDonald

Partners: London Overground, TfL London Rail

The East London Line project, constructed through 10km of congested urban landscape between Dalston and New Cross Gate down to West Croydon, involved laying innovative new tracks, installing modern signalling and telecoms equipment whilst repairing and making use of existing Victorian walls, viaducts and tunnels, including the historic Brunel Tunnels and Kingsland Viaduct.  Four new stations, a concrete viaduct and a steel bridge near Liverpool Street were also built.

Thomas Lane, from the judging panel, said:

“Over on the east side of town, a tired forgotten tube line has been transformed into a shiny new service. It is a perfect example of how to reuse old bits of infrastructure to create something so much better and useful than what went before. But this line extends far beyond its nuts and bolts as it has opened up the east side of town. Half a million people now use it every day with numbers expected to rise further, and those benefits make the new line fully deserving of the community award. The line cuts a swathe through some of the most deprived areas of the capital so will bring enormous regeneration benefits in the long term too. This powerful new tool in the regeneration of east London toolbox is why it won the greatest contribution to London award too.”

Barclays Cycle Hire received the Infrastructure Award

Client: Transport for London

Partners: Serco

Since its launch in 2010, nearly 3 million journeys have been made using Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. To overcome the challenges associated with London’s unique built environment and land ownership, Transport for London worked in close partnership with nine different local authorities, The Royal Parks and private landowners to secure the best sites for the scheme’s 350 docking stations, without compromising the needs of other road or public space users. The docking stations have been designed to be as energy and material-efficient as possible, blending in with the streetscape and providing a safe and sustainable transport option.

Jo Valentine, from the judging panel, said: 

“Barclay’s Cycle Hire is the first step towards creating a greener London and should be rightly recognised for its contribution to creating a sustainable, low emission transport system that London can be proud of. The nearly three million rides to date are testament to the scheme’s success, and the careful consideration of site selection and design have been pivotal to providing ease of access to docking stations required for ease of transfer between modes of transport.”

London 2012 Velodrome received the Building Award

Location: Olympic Park, Stratford

Client: Olympic Delivery Authority

Civil and Structural Engineer: Expedition Engineering

Architect: Hopkins Architects Partnership

Services and Environmental Engineer: BDSP Partnership

Landscape Architects: Grant Associates

Contractor: ISG

The London 2012 Velodrome is a world class venue which intelligently answers questions of function, beauty, sustainability, buildability and cost. The venue, which will serve as an Olympic and Paralympic stadium during the Games and as a community cycling facility after 2012, incorporates a number of innovations including the uniquely designed curved cable net roof which saved 1,000 tonnes of steel and cut £4 million from construction costs. With 35% less embodied energy than the next best comparable venue in the world and impressive resource and energy efficiency credentials; the Velodrome is also setting new industry standards for sustainable construction.  

Andrew McNaughton, from the judging panel, said:

“The Velodrome is not only a striking building; it delivers well beyond the original objectives of the brief and captures the enthusiasm and passion of the original design team. The focus of the whole team has been beyond the Games in 2012. Its aim is to deliver a facility that is at the heart of the park devoted to cycling. A place where the local community can share an experience alongside elite athletes. 

“The result is a building that captures the innovative spirit of the team. The determination to challenge established principles has delivered a novel use of a cable net roof. This, combined with the use of natural light, has delivered a lightweight durable and sustainable structure.  

“This alone would be a fitting legacy. Add to this a level of teamwork that worked to adopt new methods and materials, completing within budget and ahead of time, makes this a worthy winner.” 

The Thames Barrier refurbishments received the Heritage Award

Location: Woolwich

Client: Environment Agency

Engineer: Halcrow

Contractor: VolkerStevin 

Completed in 1982, the Thames Barrier has been at the heart of London’s flood defences for 28 years, closing on 119 occasions to prevent flooding and protect the capital’s heritage. This project has extended the life of the Barrier, demonstrating technical excellence whilst maximising the potential of data and monitoring systems in the most challenging of environments. The works involved the inspection and refurbishment of the main bearings and support structures facilitating the movement of the Thames Barrier’s four main gates, each 62m long and weighing 3,500 tonnes. The installation of unique monitoring systems will allow the bearings’ condition to be remotely observed, reducing costs and safety risks by minimising the frequency of inspections and maintenance interventions.

Chris Wise, chair of the judging panel, said: 

“What captured the judges’ imagination was the critical importance of this work in using contemporary technology to further enhance the Barrier, to extend its life, and so protect hundreds of thousands of Londoners and the fabric of the city they we gave its unsung watchmen and women a prize for heritage with a twist.... not for the past but for the future of our city.” 

The Sports Canopy at the National Tennis Centre received a Special Award

Location: Roehampton

Client: The Lawn Tennis Association, The National Tennis Centre

Engineers: Airlight SA. Arup

Architect: George Stowell Chartered Practice

Partners: Buro Four, Robinson Low Francis, Tubular Erectors, MLM Building Control, PFB Services, Form-TL GmbH, Canobbio SPA, Rolfe Judd, Spade Oak Construction Co. Ltd, Shelterdome 

The new demountable sports canopy at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton is the first of its type in the UK and a world first in the sports sector. Careful teamwork delivered an inspiring and creative design solution – composite fabric beams spanning 42 metres with efficient internal steel stiffening, braced by an exo-skeleton of tensile fabric and compressive struts. The all-weather demountable canopy provides a prototype for future uses and was constructed over a 12 week period within the allocated budget. 

Dervilla Mitchell, from the judging panel, said: 

“The new demountable canopy at the Lawn Tennis Association in Roehampton impressed the judges in many ways. Not only does it meet the brief of providing extended clay court play to develop young players but the team produced an innovative structure which overcame significant planning challenges and sits well next the existing LTA headquarters.

“The structure is light weight, uses less energy than a conventional air hall and is demountable in 4 days. But what is more impressive is the future opportunity to use this as a low cost solution in communities and for other sports or other uses. The delivery of this interesting and sustainable structure was enabled by a client with vision, a strong project manager and excellent team work by a widely distributed design team.”

The judging panel for the ICE London Civil Engineering Awards 2011:

  • Chris Wise (chair): Director, Expedition Engineering
  • Thomas Lane: Assistant Editor, Building
  • Andrew McNaughton: Chief Operating Officer, Balfour Beatty
  • Dervilla Mitchell: Director, Arup
  • Baroness Jo Valentine: Chief Executive, London First
  • A four week exhibition of all twelve shortlisted schemes will take place from 9 May – 4 June at the Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT.



Francesca King, Institution of Civil Engineers
t: +44 (0)20 7665 2360

Notes for editors:

Images available upon request

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is one of the pre-eminent engineering institutions in the world. Established as a learned society in 1818, it has over 75,000 members and provides a voice for civil engineering, continuing professional development and promoting best practice throughout the industry. Further details from

For more information visit