A closer look at the role of engineering software in the design of two winning projects from the 2015 Institution of Structural Engineers Structural Awards

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

The SSE Hydro opened in Glasgow in 2013 and plays host to a galaxy of national and international music megastars, as well as other entertainment and sporting events. In the IStructE Structural Awards, it won the Regional Groups award, for projects that have benefited their community and had a positive impact on lives.

The multi-purpose indoor arena has a 12,500-capacity auditorium, with a combination of fixed, retractable and removable seating that offer versatile layouts for a wide range of events. The structure was designed to the goal of providing audiences with the best view from every seat.

Much of the design for the new arena was conceived when BIM was still emerging as an important process for the engineering industry, giving BIM collaboration a chance to prove its value. Parameters from structural engineering software Oasys GSA were used to define the complex roof geometry, with the remainder of the structure developed with Bentley solutions. This work was brought together to create one model for analysis and design

From the resulting GSA model, piling schedules and steelwork centreline lengths were derived to calculate the material quantities required.

The BIM model’s intelligence was used to communicate information between the design team, the contractor and the sub-contractors, reducing risk on the project and supporting the client’s traditional procurement route. The use of BIM was central to the success of this geometrically complex building, with full 3D co-ordination of the structure, M&E and architecture.


Vegas High Roller

The Vegas High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world, won the IStructE award for Arts or Entertainment Structures. Its pioneering features, including its double-glazed spherical cabins supported from a single tube rim, all came together with the support of structural engineering software Oasys GSA.

The complexity and precision required for such a project were developed, designed and portrayed using the most advanced BIM practices available. The High Roller was a ‘one of its kind’ project in many ways: materials were custom made, for example, so a successful BIM model and coordination in 3D were vital requirements.

GSA was used to prove early design concepts using a beam-element model, the geometry for which was imported from a model created with Bentley Systems’ generative components.

The integration between GSA and a number of other third-party tools, including Bentley Systems, Rhino and Navisworks, all assisted in the successful delivery of the project.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to AEC Magazine for FREE