Essay Competition: AI and Structural Design

Over the past years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has undergone remarkable advancements, revolutionizing various industries and design disciplines. The objective of this competition is to encourage participants to reflect on the profound transformations that AI can bring to the design of structures.

Participants are asked to reflect on the transformative potential of AI in structural engineering by imagining how past projects would be designed in a different manner 30 years from now, after 2050, and how the outcomes of the project would differ. 


Winner and shortlisted entries

The submissions were judged on depth of analysis, originality and creativity, clarity and structure, impact and sustainability. Presentation and relevance to the brief were also assessed.


Shortlisted entries:

We would like to thank all the competition participants for their submissions. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the judges of the competition for taking the time to review:

  • Peter Debney Oasys / ARUP
  • Filip Kirazov Robert Bird Group
  • Dr Christian Málaga-Chuquitaype Imperial College London
  • Dr Luke Whale DAISY AI Inc.


A prize of £100 was awarded to the winning submission.


14 July 2023Design Brief issued
9 August 2023
@ 6PM
End of questions period. Any questions about the brief or the competition should be sent to Answers will be made available to all competitors and published on the IABSE UK website.
7 September 2023 @ 6PMEXTENDED Deadline for competition submission
14 September 2023Shortlisted entries notified
21 September 2023Display and winner announcement at the IABSE FoD Conference 

Essay Competition: Q&A

Below are the questions received for the essay competition, along with the jury response.

Q: Are team submissions allowed for the competition?
A: The competition is open to individual applicants only on this occasion. If there is a team of you who are interested, we highly recommend you still consider preparing independent submissions.

Q: Can you provide guidance on the expected depth of analysis and level of detail required when discussing the ethical implications of AI integration in both design and construction stages?

A: The submission may focus on any aspect related to the implementation of AI in structural engineering. If you are particularly interested in the ethical implications we can only recommend that you explore them in depth. However, please keep in mind that the reflections in your essay should ideally be linked to the design of a project (real or not) in 30 years’ time.

Q: Are you looking for proposals that primarily address the design stages of construction, or should our submission also explore the implementation and execution of AI-driven designs during construction?

A: We are looking for proposals that primarily address the design stages of construction. However, the implementation and execution of those designs would also be of interest for this competition. It would be less relevant for the submission to address the implementation of AI in construction tasks.

Q: In terms of the presentation, should we use AI-generated visualizations and simulations to illustrate ethical considerations, resource allocation, and design detail during construction stages?

A: You are free to use any materials, generated by any means, as long as they are compliant with intellectual property regulations. Please keep in mind the space limit for the submission (1 A3 or 2 A4s). Supporting material on top of the submission may be provided but it will not affect the judge’s decision.

Q: How does the competition assess the integration of AI in addressing environmental sustainability, community engagement, and worker safety throughout both design and construction phases?

A: The judges will assess that the claims of the submission on the impact of AI in structural design and related aspects (sustainability, community, health and safety…) are based on rational arguments and explore new potential unforeseen implications.

Q: Should our submission include a comprehensive strategy for ongoing monitoring and adaptation of AI-driven designs throughout the construction process, considering the evolving ethical landscape?

A: The submission may include any content that you deem relevant regarding the transformative potential of AI in structural engineering linked to how a project would be designed differently 30 years from now as it is today. We recommend that you focus on those aspects that are of more interest to you.

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