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And the Brunel winner is......

Press release issued: 10 July 2006

Youssef Ghali, from Egypt, has been chosen as the winner of the Clifton Crossing Competition. The competition was launched to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Youssef Ghali, from Egypt, has been chosen as the winner of the Clifton Crossing Competition.  The competition was launched to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The prizewinners were announced at a gala dinner in Bristol last night [Thursday 6 July].  The winners were chosen by an independent panel of eminent judges including Adam Hart-Davis – renowned television presenter, engineering enthusiast and expert on the work of Brunel – and Michel Virlogeux – designer of the award-winning Millau viaduct in France. 

The judges took into account the views of the public, who had a chance to comment on the seven shortlisted entries, which are on display at Explore-At-Bristol. The shortlisted finalists had been chosen from more than 100 adult entries for a competition to design a new crossing for the Avon Gorge.

The competition, open to professional engineers and architects, students and schoolchildren, was launched in January by Bristol University and New Civil Engineer magazine. The challenge was a re-run of the original design competition won by Brunel in 1831.

The prize for the winning professional engineer was £5,000 plus a commemorative plaque.  The student winners, Ben Hopkins, Rachael Lee, Tom White and Eric Cheung, from Nottingham University, received a prize of £1,000 and a plaque.   So many inspired designs were received from schoolchildren of all ages that the competition organisers have decided to give prizes to the top 50 participating schools – it was too difficult to select an overall winner from over 600 entries.  The prizes were sponsored by the Environment Agency, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The competition is one of the many bicentenary events taking place across the region under the banner ‘Brunel 200’.

The brief for the 2006 competition was based on the Victorian original.  It had been modified to challenge modern engineers to draw up innovative, practical and economic designs utilising the technologies, materials and practices available today.

A requirement of the competition, which was endorsed by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers, was that professionals’ and students’ entries must communicate their design thinking to young people.

The entries will form the basis of a lasting educational legacy that the University and the At-Bristol science centre intend to develop with the help of £100k funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Professor Colin Taylor, from the Department of Civil Engineering at Bristol University, has been instrumental in re-running the 1831 contest.  He said: “The aim was to find modern solutions to the problems that faced Brunel and his contemporaries in the 19th century.

“Brunel’s creative genius lay in his talent to connect together many far-sighted and supremely ambitious ideas.

“The entries show many examples of similar talent, especially amongst the young people’s designs.  The University’s challenge now is to help schools nurture these talents and develop the next generation of Brunels.

“The public’s overwhelming support for Youssef’s elegant, leaf inspired, design concept tipped the balance in the judges’ difficult decision.

“Ben, Rachael, Tom and Eric’s winning student entry is an intriguing combination of suspension and arch bridge forms.

“Congratulations to the winners who have taken inspiration from Brunel’s engineering achievements and come up with  imaginative alternative crossings of the Avon Gorge.”

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