Overall Strategy and Features
The structural framing system of the building consists of steel columns, beams, and trusses that work with the structural walls (mainly CMU) to provide support for the lightweight concrete structural floors on metal deck. Beneath the building are two foundation slabs at varying levels. The level difference is part of the design strategy to accommodate local topography, considering that the building is built on a slope. The figure below shows the overall framing system minus the structural walls on the exterior.
Material and Framing System
I mainly used steel W-beams and columns for the framing system. The choice of material aligns with the strategy to enhance sustainability by minimizing concrete use while providing a resilient support for the building. Steel beams and columns are often thinner than concrete, which resonates with the modern, light, and minimalist design style.
The exterior structural walls are made of CMU. This material works well with the local landscape and provides some extra thermal mass for the building.
Location of Major Framing Elements
The columns of the East Wing divide the space into a corridor and two separate exhibition spaces on each floor. The atrium is supported by steel trusses because of its larger span.
The North Wing has a set of columns along the interior walls in the middle and two other sets of columns along the exterior walls on both sides. W-beams connect the three sets of columns and support the floor above.
The central atrium connecting the two wings is supported by thicker W-beams. Some of the beams are overhanging beams intended to support the slab around the floor opening / daylight shaft.
The biggest challenges are the supports for the atriums. Since the atriums are intended to provide an open space, they generally have larger spans. I used steel trusses to support the east atrium, but they also compromise the aesthetics and the accessible ceiling height to a certain extent. For the central atrium, the floor layout is a bit more complicated because it shaped like a triangle and has a central opening. I aim to minimize space disruption from columns but have to ensure that the beams do not have unrealistic spans or go across the floor opening. The result is the design with overhanging beams shown above.