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Dome designers scoop major engineering award

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Engineer Buro Happold has been awarded this year's Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert award for innovative engineering for its work on the Millennium Dome structure. This is only the second time the award has been given for work on a construction project.

The last time was 30 years ago when the very first of these annual awards was given to Freeman, Fox & Partners for the first Severn Bridge. The innovation in the Dome lies in the way that the tensioned cable structure has been used to take both downloads and uploads, avoiding the more complex doubly curved shapes usually used in tented structures.

'The exciting thing is that you can make it much bigger, ' said Ian Liddell, one of the firm's founding partners who led the team responsible for the innovation. The other members of the team were Paul Westbury, special structures group manager, Dawood Pandor and Gary Dagger.

The other shortlisted designs this year included a gyroscope, a carbon-fibre mast and digital terrestrial television. Prince Philip will present the award at Buckingham Palace on 24 November. See pages 66-67.

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