Steel an Optimal Material

I believe steel is really a great choice to come up with, giving your creativity and imagination a heads up right from the beginning till the very end. Steel can be considered as a green, recyclable product with an immense strength providing support to the dwelling.

Having a minimal self-weight of itself, it is easy to install and much more flexible. Not only this, but if you look at the other aspects of this beautiful material, you realise that it offers resistant to the building when it comes to fire resistance. It’s also the best choice when it comes to longevity, maintenance says
Ar. Vivek Kishore, Principal Architect, Finer Edge Architects.

Q What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
A The use of steel and its implementation into our work sphere can be traced back to the ancient times where it all began. Eiffel tower being one of the prominent and world class examples of what one can achieve with the use of steel. It speaks for itself standing tall, knitting thousands of memories and stories for the people from almost every corner of the world.

Major advantage of steel is its self-weight is very less. We can achieve much bigger spans of cantilevers in a building, bridges and other structures without the structure looking very heavy. Steel can be considered as a green, recyclable product with an immense strength providing support to the dwelling. Having a minimal self-weight of itself, as I mentioned in the beginning it is easy to install and much more flexible. Not only this, but if you look at the other aspects of this beautiful material, you realise that it offers resistant to the building when it comes to fire. Its’s also a best choice when it comes to longevity, maintenance.

Like in Khajuraho convention centre, the huge cantilever span of 30 metres has been achieved in thickness of just 1.2 metres which would have otherwise rounded up-to 3 metres thickness had we used concrete. If we talk about time as our ultimate priority, the construction process is much faster and becomes much cheaper in factors and in the time required for the RCC construction.

Q How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
A Using it innovatively totally depends on architect’s vision, there is no limit to it. There are endless ways of how you want to put steel as a material to its’s best. Steel fascinates me more because we can achieve unimaginable span, cantilever, creative shapes, and forms easily in steel to a much wider extent. The quality is assured which we are not sure when the construction is in concrete. If you are hoping for a building to stand out for itself and have a dialect with the users, because that’s what really matters after all in the end. I believe steel is really a great choice to come up with, giving your creativity and imagination a heads up right from the beginning to the very end.

Q What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
A You definitely need an experienced custom steel fabrication company who can design and manufacture various steel sections which would help us in construction process. The suppliers like Jindal, Tata, and SAIL has most of the sections that we need. However we would like to have more sizes of sections available so that we are not forced to use higher size sections when the actual need is of less.

Q What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
A Gone are those days where one would use steel at stations, HVAC works, ducting, foundations or as a decking material. The trend has immensely changed over the years. If you look around, you realise steel is not just the backbone of the building, but it also acts as a striking architectural feature standing amidst the surrounding.

Steel creates endless possibilities which is sometimes beyond our imagination and yet to be explored. It can be combined with any construction material. Be it glass, concrete or bamboo which is highly trending these days. Also, keeping in mind about the future growth and expansion of humans and horizontal grounds reducing, the steel as an element will surely play a key role in the designing of future cities and sky scrapers. All we need to do is to keep on exploring the use of steel till its very end and wait and watch what the future beholds for us as architects and designers.

Q What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
A If we design same structure in RCC and in steel only, the cost of material will be much less in steel. But the overall cost comes higher in steel. That is because of higher fabrication cost of steel. Hence, the industry needs to work on the following:

  • Reduce the fabrication cost of steel.
  • Train and develop technicians specifically for steel fabrication and welding. For, that steel manufacturing companies could either open their own institute on the lines of NICMAR, Pune or they can tie up and finance steel fabrication courses in different engineering colleges and poly technique across India.
  • Welding is very important part of steel construction. There should be short courses, sponsored by steel manufacturers for training technicians in welding with emphasis over “On Field” training.

Q Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
A Most of my steel projects are ongoing. To name few there is Khajuraho Convention Centre. Apart from that West Bengal toll plaza and Birla Experience Centre, Talegaon are one’s that are completed.

The Convention centre is located on a flat terrain with pre-existent natural vegetation. The idea of the centre was a visionary thought of Principal Secretary (M.P Govt.) Mr. Hariranjan Rao, to give a boost and a new dimension to tourism in Khajuraho. The brief of the client was to design a convention centre of 1200 seater capacity at Khajuraho, in given cost.

Its main openings and the façade faces the north orientation towards the main road for easy public access. The huge horizontal canopy running in the X-Y axis one on top of the other creates a strong elevational feature for the convention centre. This minimalist approach of massing the canopy over the Y shaped steel columns embraces the visitor’s approach into the centre.

The Toll Plaza was designed in such a way that it looks aesthetically appealing as desired by the client. The canopy has pillar in the centre with cantilever of the canopy going to 17m on left side and 8m on right side. The vulnerability to the prevailing winds has been countered by adding dead weight to the canopy strategically.