International honour caps VanDusen award run

November 22, 2012

Fast + Epp has won a high-profile industry award from the Institution of Structural Engineers for its ground-breaking work on the VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre at a November 2, 2012 gala in London, England.

The award marks a major milestone for the firm, which has now won all three of the world’s most prestigious engineering awards for a single project.

This latest award caps off a year that saw Fast + Epp recognized with other awards from the Association of Canadian Consulting Engineering Companies and the US’ National Council of Structural Engineers Associations.

Perhaps the most significant distinctions came from this year’s Consulting Engineers of British Columbia Awards in March — the firm took home the sought-after 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence.

In addition, Fast + Epp’s structural work was recognized as the top engineering project of 2012 by World Architecture News, beating out impressive projects such as the Metropol Parasol in Spain, and the UK Pavilion Shanghai Expo.

Attributing much of the project’s success to the collaborative design work of local architects at Perkins + Will Canada, lead engineer Paul Fast says the ambitious architectural challenges of VanDusen’s geometrically-complex roof structure pushed his firm to pursue creative and efficient solutions.

“As a team we relish the challenge of taking an architect’s creative vision for a structure and developing an agile engineering solution that allows for the use of unexpected materials such as wood,” Fast said.

“In the case of VanDusen, the orchid-shaped roof was only possible because we could fabricate the wood panels in advance and install them modularly. I believe that’s what has surprised and impressed judges and it’s what has set our firm apart from any other in North America.”

Meanwhile, Fast + Epp’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability was the runner-up in its category, receiving a nod of Commendation at the IStructE Awards.