2a_S Structural Mapping

Forces on a site can be concrete or abstract, site driven or programmatic.  But its unlikely that you have explored how structural forces can play a role in determining planning criteria prior to a building form being established.  Use the opportunity to develop a structural intuition that will formally and spatially organize your proposals as you move forward.

– introduction to preliminary structural planning and systems.
– learn basic steel framing principles.
– develop understanding of structural implications based on criteria such as site, program, etc.
– understand the structure as an opportunity to satisfy your objectives and improve performance.
– consider the building frame as a reference system that is negotiated or experienced.

In two phases, analyze and understand the structural forces that are at play on the site in your specific proposal.

Initially, over the weekend you are to team up to analyze the potential structural systems of the Apparatus Bay of a fire station roughly matching the scale of the Bay in our particular project.  Analyze various potential systems and divide them up between the studio, creating one scaled model of each.  These models will become your ‘catalog’ of potentials for you particular project.

Starting Monday, continue your mapping exercise at this smallest scale, and evaluate the criteria you have already established for yourself (or that has been established by the program), and map your potentials structurally.

Studies could involve the scale of the various apparatus of our site, turning dimensions of the truck and engine, or structural grids from adjacent buildings.  Using the rules of thumb addressed in the lecture, lay out potential column spacings for your project based on work you’ve done, or conventional terms.

These studies will become part of your analysis, and should begin to more specifically describe the scale of your proposal on the site.


Due Monday, October 1:

Working in teams within your studio, research various potential structural systems for the Fire House apparatus bay, and build a model that demonstrates that structural system.  Coordinate within your individual studios such that no less that 4 discrete structural models are made and able to be viewed and tested at the start of class on Monday.  Compare spanning the apparatus with one single bay versus subdividing it with multiple bays that derive from the spatial footprint of the fire vehicles.  Some examples that you might look for include simple column and beam , beam and K-joist,  trussed beam, vierendeel truss,  space frame, three-dimensional lattice systems, etc.  Models should be standardized to represent a bay 45’ x 45’ and should be built to a scale of ½” = 1’-0”.  Your models should on some level be able to operate and perform under loads similar to the actual structural system.  And as always, craft is a relevant criteria. NOTE: If assignment specifics were discussed in your individual studios, please defer to those instructions for Monday’s deliverable.  

For Friday, October 5th:

Any additional studies, overlays, regulating line studies, etc, that begin to define the potential structural criteria and performance of the Fire House on the site.

additional resources:
1.        Schulitz, Sobek, Habermann; Steel Construction Manual; Birkhäuser Basel, 2000
2.        American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction.
3.       Deplazes; Construction Architecture;  Birkhäuser Basel, 2005
5.       Allen, Edward. The Architect’s Studio Companion.


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