Iconic Global Structures: what did we learn?

Author: IStructE and SEI

Date published

7 April 2020

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Iconic Global Structures: what did we learn?


IStructE and SEI

Date published

7 April 2020


IStructE and SEI



This white paper details lessons learned from the 2019 international conference, "Iconic Global Structures".

In September 2019, IStructE and SEI jointly hosted an international conference, "Iconic Global Structures – what can we learn?". The value of lessons learned was central to the conference theme.

Nine iconic international projects were discussed, categorised into three types of structure:

  • Large volume occupancy (Museum of the Future, Singapore Sports Hub, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
  • Unusual structures (Dubai Frame, London Eye, Vegas High Roller)
  • Performance based design of tall buildings (Jeddah Tower, Salesforce Tower and Shangahi Tower)

Following keynote speeches, in-depth panel discussions provided insightful reflection on changes that could improve safety, efficiency and communication. A detailed summary can be downloaded in the whitepaper.

Key learnings included:

International components

Whether global or local in outlook, nearly every project executed today has international components. While this conference demonstrated that the international community has much in common, there are often important geographic differences that must be understood and addressed. Issues that surfaced over the two days pertained to matters of regulation, culture, law, tolerance for risk, sensitivity to the history of the site, loads and other hazards, and labour and materials markets. We must be globally aware and globally adept.


Creative work requires integration across the entire project spectrum and across all design disciplines, as well as direct consideration of product and material innovation, constructability, and structural behaviour during construction. Innovative processes require “systems thinking” to assess risks and vulnerabilities.

Sustainability and resilience

We must embrace sustainability and contribute to the challenges raised through objective resilience design. Consideration of interdependent components of resilience, robustness, resourcefulness, recovery and redundancy is essential in successful planning and design.

Societies and industries advance by shared learning. Whether on a project basis through peer reviews, design critiques, post completion reflections, or through large-scale sharing via databases such as the Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety system or international conferences such as Iconic Global Structures, we have much to learn from each other.

Additional information



Report Public, Religious & Civic Stadium Multi-storey - tall structure

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