Jinglin Duan

Journal Entry For
Module 8 - Structural Framing Systems

Previously: My biggest challenge of this week is to figure out a grid system so that I can efficiently and effectively create my structural system. My building is troublesome as it doesn't really follow either a square grid or a circle grid. Also, as I progress up the floors from level 1 to 2, the footprint of the building increases as it slopes outwards for all sides as can be seen in the image below.


I put in some architectural columns first because I know that it is an option to match structural columns based on existing architectural columns. However, my architectural columns are also giving me trouble. If you look at the image below, I placed my walls so that they wouldn't line up from level 1 to level 2. To me, it doesn't make sense if a building component such as a column or a wall doesn't match up with the one below it. The load wouldn't properly distribute and the building wouldn't be structurally sound.

Level 1 (top) vs Level 2 (bottom)


The faint overlay shows that the building elements don't line up because of these weird geometries. I think for most of this week, I will spend time to simplify the design because the practice exercise proved to be much simpler to do since it was a rectangular design. I think I will either come up with a grid design or need to simplify my design. Based on where I have currently put the columns, it's just been my 'common sense' and feel for what I imagined the building to be. I will also need to think of potential solutions to the beam systems as I'm not sure if it'll align to a building with curves. What I could end up doing is cutting the insides of this building to an inner frame of triangles/trapezoids and rectangles. The outer general shape of the building (the glass facade), can just be an outer skin that doesn't necessarily have to line up with the rest of the building. It can just be placed on at the very end. I think that will make a lot more sense for me in the design phase rather than trying to fit everything into a plan with lots of curves and complex geometries.

Other than that — I will definitely use steel as my structural framing system because it's strong and also fits with the aesthetics of the building I had in mind (steel and glass monolithic structure). I think steel will also be helpful in this case because given the low amount of supporting elements that I have in this building, it would help to maximize strength vs amount of material used.

  • your overall strategy and the features of the structural system
  • the material and framing system selected
  • the locations of structural columns and major framing elements
  • any special structural challenges


I redesigned my structural system with some help from Glenn and that was really eye-opening (check annotated picture below). I changed my building layout so that I could more effectively create a system that wasn't so full of curves. It's better to keep things in a somewhat linear fashion. I also added a structural wall so that the building would be somewhat resistant to any kind of shaking in the event of an earthquake. Originally, I was going to cantilever the beams on the upper floors as recommended by Glenn — but I realized that wasn't realistic as the cantilevers would be >15 ft in length. As my floors go up, the building square footage increases as well. That would've definitely resulted in an unsafe building. I thought about doing columns on the exterior of the building but I thought that would've taken away from the aesthetics of the building. The epiphany moment that I had was that I could actually use slanted columns. It seems as though the structure would hold up provided the foundations are strong enough — but that's up to a structural analysis to decide.