Kourosh Kayvani, global building structures leader at international engineering company Aurecon, will chair the Lightweight Structures Association of Australasia Conference and Design Awards at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland next week from November 13-15. The biennial event will focus on the theme of "Touching the Earth Lightly".

Dr Kayvani says there is renewed emphasis in New Zealand on reducing seismic loads after the Canterbury earthquakes. "Less weight means less seismic loads to deal with - a fundamental implication of Newton's second law of motion. So, lightweight structures are even more attractive solutions for buildings in places like Christchurch."

Dr Kayvani has played key roles in designing many innovative and award-winning structures, including sports stadiums. He was the lead designer and project leader of the arch and roof of Wembley Stadium in London and was integral in several facilities for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

A broad range of interdisciplinary speakers from Australia and New Zealand will explore the sustainability advantages of lightweight structures for engineers, architects and developers; the most efficient uses of materials and resources, and the application of "building better and living lightly" in relation to future lightweight structure projects.


Lightweight structures are becoming increasingly popular globally because of their architectural and sustainability advantages, coupled with financial and engineering efficiencies. Dr Kayvani says lightweight structures are an economic necessity for spanning long distances and a wonderful opportunity to create exciting architectural forms in buildings and bridges.

"It's about coming up with the right form of the structure that makes the structure the minimal weight it needs to be. That has cost advantages and advantages in terms of sustainability because there's less embodied energy, if you like, in the material. It's an exciting area for the structural engineer as she or he takes the role of the architect as well - or becomes an equal partner with the architect."