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Rubrik: News

ETH Zurich Architecture Professor Marc Angélil
Steely prize for cable car

Published: 31.05.2007 06:00
Modified: 30.05.2007 22:49

(per) ETH Zurich Architecture Professor Marc Angélil and partner Sarah Graham together with their Los Angeles branch office and Ove Arup Engineers have won the “Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel” prize for their aerial cableway in Portland, Oregon, USA. This is the second design prize for the project, on this occasion for the completed structure. The prize is awarded by the American Institute for Steel Construction. Angélil and his partner received the highest accolade, the “Presidential Award of Excellence”. The prize was also awarded to leading architect Daniel Libeskind for the construction of the Denver Art Museum. (1)

Cable always taut

The cableway links the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital to the Marquam Hill residential district and consists of three steel structures: an upper and a lower terminus and one central supporting tower. Passengers are carried in two cabins each holding 79 people. The length of the two track cables is about one kilometre. The cables are constantly under tension, and thus exert a very large force on the terminal stations and the tower. This is why the upper station, which is 61 metres high, has a special stability system: a concrete core and four diagonal steel legs. Each leg has a rectangular shape and is fabricated from steel plates 2.5 cm thick.

The tower arrived by ship

The tower, just under 60 metres high, also has a special shape to balance out the resulting forces: the pillar is trapezoidal at the base, narrowing upwards and topped by a triangle. The three tower sections had to be brought to the building site by barge.

The award-winning upper station of the aerial tramway in Portland, Oregon (photo: Eric Staudenmaier).

(1 More information about the prize (

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