McDonald’s at Disney World Wins Design Award

Ten innovative projects throughout the U.S. have won 2021 IDEAS2 Awards, the steel industry’s top design honor and the McDonald’s Net Zero Quick Service Restaurant Rebuild in Kissimmee won the Merit Award. See all the winning designs and photos below.




Sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) Award program recognizes projects that illustrate the exciting possibilities of building with structural steel.

This year’s projects range from a massive arena to a jaw-dropping school that appears to defy gravity to a sculpture that draws inspiration from West African “talking drums” to honor the founders of the National Bar Association.

“These projects showcase the versatility of structural steel,” said AISC President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD, “and they all demonstrate a remarkable amount of innovation and creativity. Congratulations to the team behind each project for a job very well done!”

AISC thanks the 2021 IDEAS2 Award jury for their dedication and enthusiasm:

  • Stephanie J. Hautzinger, SE, AIA, Associate Vice President, CannonDesign, Chicago
  • Mark V. Holland, PE, Chief Engineer, Paxton and Vierling Steel Co., Omaha, Neb.
  • Maysa Kantner, Atlanta Structural Steel Specialist, AISC
  • Anders Lasater, AIA, CEO and Principal Architect, Anders Lasater Architects, Los Angeles
  • Wanda Lau, Editor, Technology and Practice, ARCHITECT magazine

Less than $15 Million:
National Award: Jacksonport State Park Visitors Center, Newport, Ark.

Structural Engineer: Engineering Consultants, Inc., Little Rock, Ark.

Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Little Rock

General Contractor: Tate General Contractors, Jonesboro, Ark.

Owner: Arkansas State Parks, Little Rock, Ark.

Judge comments:

  • “Rarely does a finished building look as compelling as when it’s in construction; however, this finished structure exhibits all the beauty of the ‘in-construction’ images. That’s the sign of a truly integrated structural design.” – Anders Lasater, AIA, CEO and Principal Architect, Anders Lasater Architects, Los Angeles
  • “The exposed steel frame and glass façade of the Visitor Center seamlessly marries structure with architecture, resulting in a light and elegant appearance that highlights the historical beauty of the surrounding landscape.” – Stephanie J. Hautzinger, SE, AIA, Associate Vice President, CannonDesign, Chicago

Merit Award: McDonald’s Net Zero Quick Service Restaurant Rebuild, Kissimmee, FL

Steel Fabricator: P&A Welding and Machine, Inc., Mulberry, Fla. (AISC Member)

Structural Engineer: CPH, Inc., Sanford, Fla.

Architects: CPH, Inc., Sanford, Fla.; Ross Barney Architects, Chicago

General Contractor: Southland Construction, Inc., Apopka, Fla.

Owner: McDonald’s Corporation, Chicago

Judge comment:”The keyword for this project is ‘sustainability.’ To see a major corporation push to construct a net-zero restaurant is reaffirming the importance of the environment. And to have structural steel play such a big role in this movement is fantastic. It allows the world to start viewing steel as the sustainable material it is and encourages them to pursue future projects with this material that can be both sustainable and beautifully unique.” – Maysa Kantner, Atlanta Structural Steel Specialist, AISC

Merit Award: Ballston Quarter Pedestrian Walkway, Arlington, Va.

Steel Fabricator and Detailer: Crystal Steel Fabricators, Arlington, Tenn. (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Structural Engineer: Peller + Associates, Westlake, Ohio

Architect: studioTECHNEarchitects, Cleveland

General Contractor: Clark Construction, Bethesda, Md.

Owner: Brookfield Development, Washington, D.C.

Judge comment:

“The crossover segment at mid-span creatively addresses the offset entrances of the connected buildings, and the steel HSS frame is an ideal choice to resist the complex forces of this innovative bridge design. The resulting structure has a sculptural quality that is visually captivating from both the exterior and interior.” – Stephanie J. Hautzinger, SE, AIA, Associate Vice President, CannonDesign, Chicago

$15 Million to $75 Million:

National Award: Truist Leadership Institute, Greensboro, N.C

Steel Fabricator: SteelFab, Inc., Raleigh, N.C. (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Structural Engineer: Fluhrer Reed, PA, Raleigh, N.C.

Architect: CJMW Architecture, Winston-Salem, N.C.

General Contractor: Frank L. Blum Construction, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Owner: Truist Leadership Institute, Greensboro, N.C.

Judge comment:

“This design exhibits a great integration of steel and wood structure. You get the feeling that there’s a meaningful relationship formed between the two materials that really support one another and the design intent.” – Anders Lasater, AIA, CEO and Principal Architect, Anders Lasater Architects, Los Angeles

Merit Award: Watershed Building, Seattle

Steel Fabricator and Detailer: Metals Fabrication Co., Inc., Airway Heights, Wash. (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers, Seattle

Architect: Weber Thompson, Seattle

General Contractor: Turner Construction Company, Seattle

Owner: COU, LLC, Seattle

Judge comments:

  • “This project combines high performance and aesthetics in a design that enhances the occupant experience as well as the community. The building’s added role as a stormwater treatment plant for the adjacent bridge run-off demonstrates how architecture can effectively and creatively integrate into city infrastructure.” – Wanda Lau, Editor, Technology and Practice, ARCHITECT magazine
  • “This is truly a lovely building in which the structural system makes the best use of the steel materials and contributes significantly to the overall success of the design. It feels like there are no extra parts to this building, and that the architecture and structure are in harmony and support of one another.” – Anders Lasater, AIA, CEO and Principal Architect, Anders Lasater Architects, Los Angeles

$75 Million to $200 Million:

National Award: The Heights School, Arlington, Va.

Steel Fabricator: Banker Steel, Lynchburg, Va. (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Detailer: Sanria Engineering, San Jose, Calif. (AISC Member)

Structural Engineer: Silman, Washington

Architects: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Leo A Daly, Washington

General Contractor: Gilbane, New York

Owner: Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Va.

Judge comment:

“The ambiguity of how this building is supported is one of the most fascinating features of the structure, and it is all due to the structural steel trusses behind the scene. Coordination and communication are required on every project but I imagine for this level of uniqueness, those two things had to be stepped up in a big way. It is so great to see what can be done with project teams when they all work together and think outside the typical box-shaped buildings!” – Maysa Kantner, Atlanta Structural Steel Specialist, AISC

Greater than $200 Million:

National Award: Dickies Arena, Fort Worth

Steel Fabricator and Detailer: W&W/AFCO Steel, Oklahoma City (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Erector: Bosworth Steel Erectors, Dallas (AISC Member, AISC Certified Erector)

Bender-Roller: Max Weiss, Milwaukee (AISC Member)

Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore, Dallas

Architects: HKS, Inc., Dallas; David M. Schwarz, Washington, D.C.; Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford, Fort Worth

General Contractors: Beck Group, Fort Worth; Austin Commercial, Dallas

Owner: Trail Drive Management Corporation, Fort Worth

Owner’s Representative: The Projects Group, Fort Worth

Judge comments:

  • “The arena design complements the area’s vernacular architecture while its striking roof design leverages the strengths of steel and post-tensioned concrete to help create a versatile, column-free arena for a vast array of rigging configurations and events.” – Wanda Lau, Editor, Technology and Practice, ARCHITECT magazine
  • “This is a collection of buildings with impressive logistics and impressive resolution. The stated goals were clearly and gracefully achieved. The steel structure feels like an integral and expressive part of the design, both in the exposed, rugged roof structures and in the more refined tactile structures like the stairs and railings. This is a great example of how all the pieces can come together to create a whole that’s more valuable than the individual parts.” – Anders Lasater, AIA, CEO and Principal Architect, Anders Lasater Architects, Los Angeles

Sculpture/Art Installation/Non-building Structure:

National Award: Moscone Center Expansion – Pedestrian Bridges, San Francisco

Steel Fabricator and Erector: SME Steel Industries, West Jordan, Utah (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator, AISC Certified Erector)

Detailer: Pro Draft, Inc., Surrey, B.C., Canada

Structural Engineers: SOM; SOHA Engineers, San Francisco; Tipping Structural Engineers, Berkeley, Calif.

Architect: Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP (SOM), San Francisco

General Contractor: Webcor Builders, San Francisco

Owners: City and County Of San Francisco; San Francisco Department of Public Works; San Francisco Travel

Judge comment:

“The unique and innovative design of the East Bridge, utilizing an optimized box girder and suspended deck, results in a remarkably light and transparent structure, particularly given the 150-ft span.” – Stephanie J. Hautzinger, SE, AIA, Associate Vice President, CannonDesign, Chicago

Merit Award: A Monumental Journey, Des Moines, Iowa

Steel Fabricator: Johnson Machine Works, Chariton, Iowa (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator)

Bender-roller: Albina Co., Inc., Tualatin, Ore. (AISC Member)

Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers, Des Moines

Architect: substance, Des Moines

General Contractor: Neumann Brothers, Des Moines

Owner: Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines, Iowa

Judge comment:

“Steel takes a back seat in this structure as far as being the face and plays the humble role of supporting the greater cause. Although steel is doing the heavy lifting in this monument, there is a greater message that is meant to be the focus and that is civil rights, justice, and equality. And this monument, with the support of steel, relays that message so beautifully.” – Maysa Kantner, Atlanta Structural Steel Specialist, AISC

Presidential Award for Excellence in Adaptive Reuse: Uber Advanced Technologies Group R&D Center, San Francisco

Steel Fabricator, Erector, and Detailer: Kwan Wo Ironworks, Inc., San Francisco (AISC Member, AISC Certified Fabricator, AISC Certified Erector)

Structural Engineer: Nabih Youssef Associates, San Francisco

Architect: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, Berkeley, Calif.

General Contractors: Novo Construction, San Francisco; Nibbi Brothers, San Francisco

Owners: Orton Development, Inc., Emeryville, Calif.; Port of San Francisco

Judge comments:

  • “The scope of this historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse required notable courage, vision, and collaboration, not to mention expertise in structural and seismic engineering among other trades, to realize the project’s potential.” – Wanda Lau, Editor, Technology and Practice, ARCHITECT magazine
  • “It is hard to imagine that these beautiful buildings and pieces of history could have been lost if not for the thoughtful re-imagination by the design team. The exposed 1800s steel structure alongside the new modern structure creates an interesting and visually striking appearance on the interior of the buildings.” – Stephanie J. Hautzinger, SE, AIA, Associate Vice President, CannonDesign, Chicago

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.