Which steel building catches your fancy?
While efforts are being made by architects, engineers and building contractors to promote the use of wood in high-rise construction, steel structures continue to provide modern-day architecture and engineering with flexible, economic, structurally strong, and technically-inspiring buildings. Structures beautifully formed out of steel and glass remain as the attractive visual reminders of the amazing evolution of building and construction industries.

Innovative Design Concepts for Steel Structures
Several steel structures have been built across the country over the years, with each new building outshining the previously constructed ones. While the aesthetic design varies from building to building, all structures have to meet the basic structural requirements, including innovative design concepts in areas such as:

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  • Gravity systems
  • Fire protection and blast
  • Connections
  • Lateral load resisting systems
  • Aesthetic and visual impact
  • Technical/technological advances
  • Speed fastening systems on exposed structural steel
  • Innovative design and construction methods and techniques

Structural Steel Tower
One World Trade Center, located in New York is an unbeatable structure not just in terms of scale and massive usage of structural steel – utilizing some 40,800 metric tons, but also in terms of its excellent and impressive engineering processes. The engineers designed a hybrid structural steel monument frame and high-strength concrete core system aimed at optimizing structural efficiency, aided by the aerodynamic tapering of the tower as it rises. Rigidity and redundancy for the structure are achieved by the frame which allows column-free interior spans for maximum flexibility while the tower’s geometrical shape reduces exposure to the high wind loads which is a normal occurrence in New York.

High-Performance Building
The Corps of Engineers Federal Center South Building of the US Army, in Seattle is designed based on the need to create a high-strength building that establishes a new workplace standard, giving priority to features on anti-terrorism protection. This building’s design team has created and developed a perimeter diagrid design that integrates sloped columns and spandrel grinders into a single structural system, providing lateral resistance and redundancy in the support system for the floor framing.

The building is designed to remain standing even if the column elements become compromised, resulting from a function known as a progressive collapse system. It has a strong foundation system that is expected to support building loads and withstand the effects of earthquakes and soil liquification derived from 205 pieces of 18-inch diameter piles, driven into the soil to a depth of at least 150 feet. The building’s stainless steel shingles complement the nearby 1930s historic structure designed by Albert Kahn.

The US Army’s Corps of Engineers Federal Center South Building in Seattle.

Building Flexibility
Steel has enabled the architects and engineers to deliver masterful and ambitious architectural projects that feature building flexibility such as the Newport Beach Civic Center in California. The iconic glass and steel structure is punctuated by natural forms reflective of the center’s surroundings. The building’s crowning glory is the wavelike roof.

The Newport Beach Civic Center glows like a cruise ship, with its metal hull rising over a sea of dark construction barriers.

Steel Shear Wall Structure
The Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology in Philadelphia enabled the architects and engineers to make a real statement in using steel. The steel shear wall supports a magnificent glass cantilever visible from inside and out. This new and massive 78,000 square foot facility houses state-of-the-art lab spaces, and vibrant, central spaces including the public Galleria, wrapped in a metal-paneled façade with a bent ripple that reflects and refracts the surrounding buildings and activity of the city.

The Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology in Philadelphia providing a new indoor/outdoor open space for interaction.

These structures represent some of the best steel construction designs and methodologies. Steel remains to be an excellent provider for solutions for the entire design and construction team of engineers, architects, and building contractors.

Do you know of other iconic steel buildings in the country?

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3 thoughts on “Steel Structures Still Dominating The Country’s Skylines”

  1. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that steel building structure construction is still the dominant force today. Is this good economically or is this indicative of a lack of progress in a tightly controlled industry? I seem to be the annoying gadfly buzzing around and disturbing the otherwise pleasant conversation on the concept of 3D printing for building structures. The issues with real-world application of these approaches in safety-critical applications depends on knowing the properties and behavior of the resulting material. Engineers, owe it to clients to consider what else might need investigation.

  2. It’s well known that steel plate shear walls have been used, to a limited extent, as the primary lateral force resisting system in buildings for more than three. There have been numerous SPSW research programs in this timeframe in the United States, Canada, and Japan to help foster a better understanding of the system’s behavior, particularly as it relates to earthquake-resistant design. I don’t think this method is changing anytime soon.

  3. I find it quite amazing how three major mill producers account for over 90% of all wide flange structural steel produced in the United States. Five producers, including the three major mills, supply the market with miscellaneous hot-rolled shapes such as angles and channels. Just as impressive is the fact that all hot-rolled products are produced utilizing electric arc furnaces utilizing ferrous scrap as the primary feed stock.

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