Overall Strategy and Features of the Structural System
My general strategy was to keep the structural system as simple as possible. I put structural walls around the building’s core in the middle. This provides lateral support and decreases the number of required columns. Outside the building’s core, I have a grid of steel columns and beams, trying to keep the distance between each column to around 20-30 ft. There is an atrium in the lobby area, requiring me to frame around it. To accomplish this, I needed to add two columns outside the grid system, but overall, framing the atrium did not prove to be a tremendous challenge.
The Material and Framing System Selected
I chose to use steel framing for my exhibition center. Even though steel is not a ‘natural’ material like wood, steel is a highly recyclable material, and I would plan to use 100% recycled steel for the framing of my building. This would decrease its life cycle impact dramatically.
The Locations of Structural Columns and Major Framing Elements Each structural column can be easily seen in the Level 1 screenshot below by locating the rectangular isolated footings beneath the columns. I tried to minimize the number of columns used while placing the columns I did use in relatively inconspicuous places. As I mentioned above, structural walls surround the buildings core. The beams and beam systems are shown in the Level 2 screenshot below.
It was quite challenging for me to establish an effective grid system, but I am relatively happy with the current configuration. Another challenge was trying to understand the interactions between columns, beams, and structural walls at points of intersection. Lastly, framing around the atrium in the lobby was a unique feature of my building. I needed to add two columns outside the grid system, but I think this works well.