Module 8 - Structural Framing Systems

Overall Design Strategy

Early on in the design process, I was aiming to create a structure made entirely out of wood. As I was designing this building and moving along in the process, I realized it might be more interesting to use a variety of materials as a way to teach people visiting about the most sustainable form of those materials.

  • Steel - I plan to use entirely recycled domestic steel for this project to show the importance of both recycled and local materials.
  • Wood - Similar to steel I plan to use as much recycled and local wood as possible from sustainable sources
  • Concrete - The concrete structure will be made with as low a cement level as possible and the use of fly ash as well to promote new and emerging technologies.

The organization of the structural elements are both hidden and design features. They will serve the function of the spaces they are placed, for example, the columns in the exhibit halls will be hidden within the walls to place the focus on the art/media while the trusses will be visible as a structural element to take in and look at.


Columns - W Shaped 14x43 Steel

  • This column type was used for every single column in the interior of the building. The columns will be hidden within the walls in the exhibit space to allow for smooth surfaces for display art and other media. In the exposed lobby and offices section, the columns will be exposed to provide a more raw and industrial look.

Beams - Glulam Western Species 5.125 x 15

  • The exposed lobby and offices will be supported by large wooden glulam beams. Since these rooms do not have as open of a floor plan as the exhibits we can use glulam beams to cut down on the amount of steel used in the property and it will provide a unique look for this mostly glass enclosed space.

Trusses - Steel Pratt Flat Truss Standard 4’ Height

  • The exhibit halls are massive, open spaces that would not benefit from columns popping up throughout the room. To deal with this issue I have opted for trusses to cover the longer width across the room. The trusses offer an interesting exposed structural feature that will add substance and intrigue to the room.

Structural Floor - 3” LW Concrete on 2” Metal Deck

  • This floor was chosen as a standard reliable choice and will provide a degree of thermal mass to the building with all the SHG from the large windows in the lobby and offices.

Footings/Columns - Concrete, 72x48x18, 24x30

  • The building itself will be supported by concrete pylons at varying distances to contour to the existing landscape. This will provide a strong base for the exhibit hall to sit upon while also allowing for the exhibit hall to look like it is built right into the hillside.

Challenges/Looking Ahead

  • Trusses - I would like the trusses to be wood to cut down on the amount of steel used on the project but am wondering if this is actually a viable option? I would like the only steel to be used on the project to be the interior columns.
  • Footings/Columns - Some further insight on the size of the footings/columns for the foundation is needed. Is this also a viable option for a structure being placed on a hillside?
  • Beam Systems - I do not want to put in beam systems for the areas using glulam, if I use large enough glulam beams will the be structural sufficient?