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2017 AEC Excellence Awards

From airports and rail to tunnels and parks, the finalists impress with their submissions to AEC Excellence Awards 2017

Mexico City International Airport

First place: Foster + Partners and FR-EE

For the airport, Foster + Partners and FR-EE had one core goal in mind: Put people first.

At 470,000 square meters, it will be one of the world’s largest airports and its flowing form is inspired by flight. But its primary design focus is the passenger experience. With an open air concept, travelers will be able to see the gates and where they are heading in a space full of daylight. The design also anticipates the predicted increase in passenger numbers by 2028 and beyond, along with an expansion plan through 2062 for an eventual six runways.

East Side Access

Second place: LiRo Group

Taking place underneath the bustling streets of Manhattan is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the United States. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access—first discussed in the 1950s and finally initiated in the late 1990s—will connect trains from Long Island and Queens to the east side of Manhattan. This includes an eight city-block long concourse and multiple train platforms 150 feet beneath Grand Central Station as well as major renovations of Harold Interlocking, the busiest railway junction in the country.

When design and construction first started on East Side Access, BIM wasn’t even in existence, but in the middle of the actual construction—LiRo Group’s Virtual Design and Construction team came on board to successfully implement BIM to analyze, visualize, and communicate project geometry, data, and workflows. 

Ulriken Tunnel

Third place: Norconsult AS

The team turned to BIM for not only coordination and collaboration with design and construction of the new Ulriken tunnel in Norway, but also to create a fully immersive game and virtual reality experience. As Northern Europe’s most-trafficked single-track tunnel, the Norwegian railway between Fløen and Arna required increased capacity and safety.

This meant boring through Mount Ulriken to build a new, parallel 7.8 km tunnel and upgrading existing stations that are already tight on space within two city centers. And this all had to be done without disrupting any of the current railway traffic. 


  • KMM Metro Line

    KMM Metro Line

    The first BIM-mandated underground project in Turkey designed with robotic total stations, 3D laser scanning technology and cloud access.

  • Instanbul Airport

    Istanbul Grand Airport

    With 30,000 people working on the Istanbul airport site site each day, communication is key and so is Building Information Modeling (BIM). 

  • Huawei Songshan Tram

    The tram line of the Huawei Terminal new headquarters in Dongguan, Guangdong Province involves coordination of floodway, reservoir, bridge and mountains.

  • Zhuhai Macao Bridge

    Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

    This cross-sea cluster project includes ten sub-systems, islands, bridges and tunnels needs BIM for structural design, sub-surface design and construction.

  • Karvanke Tunnel

    The team is piloting Building Information Modeling (BIM) on a complex tunnel project with 190 partial models exchanged across disciplines and in 5 coordination models.

  • Mikusa Tunnel

    The team created the model automatically using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for displacement measurement and information during the tunnel excavation.