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The proposed design of the Aquatic Centre for the Paris 2024 Olympics has been revealed by MAD Architects. Envisioned to be the sports facility as an urban public artwork, showcasing the beauty and hope of Paris, the proposal was created in collaboration with three French architectural studios, Jacques Rougerie Architecture, Atelier Phileas Architecture and Apma Architecture.

MAD Architects was invited to participate in the international competition to design the Aquatic Centre for the Paris 2024 Olympics. One of two large structures to be built for the Olympics, separated by a high-speed road and linked by a pedestrian bridge, the Aquatic Center will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paris 2024. Most of the 36 venues set for the event will be housed in existing or temporary infrastructure, following the committee’s wish to host the games as carbon neutral as possible.

Located in the Saint-Denis district of Paris, adjacent to the Stade de France, the Aquatic Centre appears to be floating because the translucent curved building changes with the sunlight and the sky, like ripples. The façade, a 360-degree projection screen, the largest display interface of public art in the region, will display information and provide live broadcasts of on-going events inside. In addition, natural light infiltrates the white curtain wall during the day, generating a continuous play of light and shadow.

Initially designed to accommodate 5,000 spectators, the center can be easily transformed after the Olympics to host half its capacity. Aligned with the committee’s environmental considerations, the structure will largely rely on renewable energies, minimizing the project’s carbon footprint. Moreover, solar panels will contribute to reducing light and energy consumption and rainwater collection systems will recycle water to irrigate integrated landscaping that covers an area of 6000 sq. m.



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This special section covers an out-of-the-box design with steel as an essential element of the design. The main aim of this section is to showcase how steel can be innovatively used in today’s world of architecture.

Here’s Ar. Sandeep Sikchi unveiling the magnanimous Ganesha Temple whose architecture befits the idol that sits within…

The Shree Ganpati temple is located in Paldhi, on the outskirts of the Jalgaon City. The statue of Lord Ganesha that is to be placed in the temple is carved out of a single block of black granite with a height of 22 feet, which would sit on a pedestal of 6 feet, thus, bringing the final height of the statue at 28 feet.

The thought that went behind design of the temple’s roof was to keep it simple and subtle with a modern twist. The challenge was to create a design that would be befitting for the magnitude of the idol placed within.

While designing the roof of the temple, steel was the best option given that RCC would put limitations in terms of span of the structure and creativity. The focus of the roof’s design was kept in the volume that would allow the visitors to experience the grandiose of the place. The final design of the temple roof was a complex profile dictated by the height of the idol near the Gabhara [sanctum sanctorum] area and in the surrounding Pradikshana area.

Apart from the huge responsibility of designing a befitting structure, the next challenge was to incorporate and accommodate at least a flow of 1000 devotees in the hall. The hall span was that of 98 feet by 138 feet and the task was to build the roof structure in such a way that it would facilitate natural light as well as ventilation.

Envisaged as a ‘folded plate’ structure, the roof of the congregation hall folds from 3 sides to scale down the volume within it. These folds allow play of tiers to emerge.

Tiering the roof from the three sides allowed us to add windows at different levels which enabled light to penetrate in further and at the same time keep the progression of space one experiences gradual.

It also facilitates the morning east sunlight to penetrate through the front and fall on the Ganesh statue for a longer duration of time. It also enables diffused and reflected light to enter and enrich the congregation hall within.

Following the profile of the main structure, the steps were created with planters placed along the sides. These planters and the steps play varying roles for the congregation hall since they will be helping in maintaining the humidity levels as the summer temperatures soars up to 45-47 degree Celsius.

Aesthetically, the steps also help in creating a sense off approach to the entrance from every direction.

The idea of tiering follows through onto the shikhar by creating offsetting horizontal surfaces. These surfaces are further enhanced post sunset by play of linear lights / wall washers. So, be it night or day the concept of tiering is subtly felt as one drifts around the structure or views it from afar while letting the magnanimity of the place seep in.


architect’s interpretation
“The form should be true to the function for which it has been envisioned.”
Sandeep Sikchi, Principal Architect, Sikchi Associates

The challenge was on how to get this structure erected without the erection of central columns as support the overhead structure and have a clear span of 98 feet by 138 feet. Based on the expert advice and solutions provided by Mr. Bal Kulkarni, the director of Delcons, the complexities that the building of the roof posed were overcome.

Every frame that was designed had a different profile in elevation. It was series of increasing folded roof patterns, with a top most straight profile of 8meter, breaking down to two more 4 meter sections and two more levels at the lowest halves.

The next challenge was the connections at all the locations where the geometry of the frame changes. Providing routine connections with face plates and bolts with stiffeners would have damaged the view of the frame from the inside. The aesthetics of the structure could not be compromised with.

We decided to carve out each orthogonal shape from a single plate and then these ‘l’ shapes were joined at their ends thus saving one connection. Rolled steel sections of this shape and strength were not available so we had to rely on tobuild up only three plated sections.

Temple is a belief center it encompasses the aura of God and the energy flow axis that strengthens one’s belief. This temple is an architectural expression to further that energy flow as a modern interpretation of the same.

Tales : Abhijeet Kulkarni


Talking About Life’s Engineering Saga (TALES)’ is a segment that exclusively focuses on the top structural Consultants across the globe sharing their engineering journey in their own words. We have – Abhijeet Kulkarni – sharing his deep knowledge with us…

He has returned to India from the Middle East with an extensive experience and knowledge of two and half decades under his belt and is ready to take the domestic construction industry to new heights… He sees India as a potential hub for structural steel skyscrapers.

Here’s Abhijeet Kulkarni, Country Director – Structures of Buro Happold (BH) India, giving us a candid peak into his immense experience…


Since you have joined Buro Happold, how has been the transition and what are the strengths you have discovered in your new organization?
I have spent about 18 years in the Gulf and then relocated to India back in 2019. The transition has been reasonably smooth. Even though Covid-19 has affected the business here, but otherwise, within the organization, within the general sort structure engineering community, I have been pretty much welcomed, and people have been very kind.

Buro Happold is a partnership firm. We have offices almost in every continent worldwide including US, UK, Middle East, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China. The strength BH has is that it is a very closely knit company and almost every week partners meet and interact with each other to discuss about new offering, new technologies and progress. There are multiple forums within the company where staff can contribute in terms of structural engineering, computation, infrastructure engineering, building services etc. Buro Happold is technology much stronger compared to competitors and has very strong fundamentals.

You have an extensive experience in the Middle East. How are the design practices different there and India?
Design practices are significantly different. I was in Dubai when the construction industry was picking up back in early 2000s and I was there from 2001 onwards. I’ve seen the craziness that goes with a good project. The clients pushed us hard on delivering the designs fast and the project managers worked the entire team on tight schedule. I came back to India during the pandemic period so maybe because of that, in India, the urgency to finish a project as they ought to be is not there which I have witnessed in the Middle East.

In India, there are discussions over redesign to make a project as cost effective as possible, which is in a way, time consuming. Whereas in the Middle East, time was very critical; people wanted to finish the projects within a set time limit and get ready to sell out or lay out the commercial and residential properties. In India, the ultimate value for client is given more importance so, every inch counts. We spend more time in optimizing the engineering of the design but then, that kind of has its own advantage. This kind of practice in terms of the end product is good, but then it adds that extra time where clients could perhaps make some additional revenue had they finished the project on time.

Pertaining to engineering, Indian codes are little bit conservative as compared to international codes and that leads to potential over design as compared to international practices. I think there is reason for this conservatism because the business that we are in into, i.e., tall, large complex buildings, the challenges and complexities of the projects are not necessarily something that every designer would know about.

As a result, there may be situations where things might just be under design and to cater for those sorts of eventualities but there is a scope to rationalize for Indian codes nevertheless. In fact, in our company; we were discussing recently, how the Indian codes can be upgraded regularly to meet with the international codes. I think, investment are required in R & D, material and systems testing etc. on regular basis that would enable us to upgrade the codes on more regular basis, but we are getting there.

What is your take on standalone steel structures and composite steel structures?
This is a big topic. Steel bridges are common and highly demanded especially vehicular bridges, foot bridges and railroad bridges. Coming to the built environment, use of steel has not flourished as much as it should in India. Perhaps the reason might be the capex required on steel buildings or perhaps the accessibility to the sites in the city limits, or limitations on skilled labor or contractors, etc. Globally, for about eight years, there has been a trend leaning towards composite construction rather than steel alone or concrete alone construction.

Advantage of composite construction is that of taking benefit of material properties of structural steel and concrete. The Council of Tall Building in Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Publication has given graphs for how the trend of use of material has been in tall buildings in the last eight to ten years. It can be noted that there is a significant increase in percentage in composite buildings in the recent past.

How can we make structural steel buildings more efficient?
Steel as a construction material has perhaps the best strength to weight ratio and architects, designers, developers and project managers can use it to the fullest of its strength. Aspects like connections between the buildings, the atrium portions between the buildings, public connectivity from metros etc. can be easily done in steel. The advantage of such steel structure would be that, while the designers are engaged in making design of these public spaces more appealing, the construction of the surrounding building can already be under way, thus providing saving on a time.

We are working on a project in Mumbai where two towers will be in composite construction, and we are thinking of bringing in the infield portion into steel. Obviously, there are challenges in steel construction such as fabrication, transportation; fire proofing is another challenge for steel buildings, especially having the right quality of fire proofing and then maintaining it, its own design life replacing it during the design life of structure. These are some of the key aspects that need to be considered while deciding on structural steel buildings.

Based on the current usage of structural steel in India, what kind of changes can boost the growth of steel structures in the domestic construction industry?
There have been very good players in the Indian market. Maybe the availability of material in the West Coast might be a bit of a challenge as compared to East Coast. In terms of section availability, the jumbo sections or the thick sections, more the usage, more the production would be. Once the demand is there, supply can be made available by the producers.

Steel is a sustainable material and there’s a lot of reusability in structural steel. Although high in the initial part of the structural steel, embodied carbon on the structural steel is lesser than concrete after demolition or decommissioning of a building and reuse of the structural steel. Hence, the design has to be aligned for decommissioning and then this material can be brought into use more often.

The industry requires that push to start choosing for more steel buildings. There are some clients who are helping into this, and we have witnessed at least two or three clients, especially in southern part of India, who wants to test steel as primary material in lieu of concrete. Still, it’s a mixed bag at the moment. Nevertheless, there is potential for all the players of the industry, including the fabricator contractor, developers and designers to push this limit so that the industry starts circulating.

Which segment of the construction industry has the potential for the growth of structural steel construction in India and why?
There will be growth in composite construction in tall buildings. Structural steel in composite construction has its own advantages. The fireproofing can be optimized, the spaces can be optimized by using composite columns and composite walls. There will be some challenge in terms of construction, but India does have capable contractors who can easily up their game with their experience. In my opinion, composite construction is going to be the leading front of use of steel in buildings. At the same time, there might be situations such as infill portions, atriums, building connecting bridges where structural steel alone may be used in a few building projects to save on time.

Steel structures can be anything from bridges to atriums to mall. This kind of construction plan can eventually help in reducing the overall construction period of a project and render the end product earlier to start earning revenue at earlier dates.

How can the construction industry as a whole fast track and smooth track the growth of steel structures in India?
There are multiple things that can be looked at. Transportation of steel structural sections from the fabrication yard to the construction site would be one of the key challenges. This may pose hindrances in long length steel members thus reducing the transportation length and increasing on site connections. Fire proofing of structural steel needs to be looked into, especially for the exposed steel sections.

In design, there is a fair bit of understanding of how concrete as material works in the design. Even when an issue arises, it can be easily dealt with because concrete has been used for construction for decades.

Structural steel construction is more direct; there needs to be an upscale in design firms as well as the construction firms when it comes to steel structures. The flow of force is explicit (ie through members and connections) and the knowledge of how the forces travels from top of the building to the foundations, is critical. This is where we have to up-skill ourselves in the design entities as well as the contacting entities in terms of connections on site, connections off site, connection testing, ensuring that the quality of the work at site is not compromised, making sure that one has the right quality of welders at site, right capacity of torquing machines at site, etc.

Which are the most challenging projects you have undertaken in your 18 years in the Middle East?
The Ski Slopes of the Mall of Emirates was one of the biggest challenging steel structures that I had come across. The Ski Slope was a steel bridge of about 70 meters in span and 60 meters in width which had to carry the weight of a average meter deep snow, skiers and snow forming machines.

I also worked on a few rooftop features of few towers in Dubai. Generally known as spires, these are very slender steel structures. Due to the slenderness and the location at a high altitude, they are subjected to fluttering from wind. We designed these elements using dampers and connections using fatigue design, which was another learning experience.

We built a rooftop feature on one of the towers of 330 meters tall building in Dubai. Since the columns were curving and building was of a certain shape and forming that shape in structural steel at that height was interesting challenge. There was not enough space to place slabs so we had to put restrains to brace the structural steel members for this feature against wind loads.

Although, I have been fortunate to have been involved in composite tall buildings where we had structural steel embedded in concrete, be it in walls or columns or CFT, I have not yet had opportunity of working on tall building made up of structural steel alone.

Steel the Future of Construction


Steel possesses one of the greatest virtues of a material that can be combined with other materials, says Amit Sharma, Principal Architect of

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel structures allow a lot of flexibility in terms of spans and shapes. They are faster to build and easier to dismantle. They can be prefabricated and therefore the production can be decentralized. Steel structures are also easily expandable and repairable. They are flexible, which makes them very good at resisting dynamic (changing) forces such as wind or earthquakes or other forces of nature. It can bend without cracking, which acts as a warning in seismic zones. Steel can be molded, bent or shaped into any kind of design as well as, can be clad with any type of skin material ranging from clay tiles to carbon composite sheets, etc.

A wide range of joining methods, such as, bolting, welding, and riveting for steel are readily available. Steel can be recycled. New steel made from scrapped steel uses about one-third of the energy necessary for steel from virgin materials, thus also adding environment friendly feature to it.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Steel works best in tension and therefore the tensile properties should be exploited more. Space frames and tie rod stay structures are some good examples of this system. Most of the designs created in our country are inefficient for a simple reason that steel gets under used for its strength. The compressive strength of steel is often outdone by its slenderness ratio and therefore is often over designed. Hollow sections are efficient since it gives greater section area for lesser material area.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The steel producers have a very good variety of steel but are not able to educate the users (architects and engineers) about the efficacy of the material. The industry needs to first utilize the existing variety of sections and grades that are available. One needs to also reduce the price gap between mild steel and stainless steel, the way it has been done for petrol and diesel. This will allow more people to use stainless steel, a product which has a higher cycle value. There is also a need to create skilled workers for this material, as it requires more accuracy to work with; something, the steel producers should think about.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
As speed becomes more and more important, one will see a rise in prefabricated structures. More architects are experimenting with form and therefore there will be a rise in the quality of structures. The future is all about building faster, lighter and stronger. There should be the need and desire to build larger structures as our communities grow. The use of tubular structures will get more popular in public buildings since it is already being used largely at public infrastructure structures like airports and stations.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The industry has to start catching the future of the design industry, (the decision makers) students of architecture and design and teaching them about the material. Most of the curriculum in schools today is Brick and RCC centric. Young architects need to be exposed to the wonders of steel, how it can change the way structured are seen and open up new avenues of creative designs. The industry also needs to promote the material by demonstrating, from time to time, the virtues of the material through exhibitions and funding smaller projects at the city scale like foot over bridges, street furniture etc.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We have done cable stay sheds with spans of 35 meter for a factory project in Rohtak, where we reduced the quantity of steel by 27 per cent through the use of tie rods. We also created space frames in one of the award winning schools in Rohtak. We have also done a temple in stainless steel for a house in Bhubaneswar. We have used stainless steel in signage in Delhi and we have designed many stair cases in MS and SS. Currently, we are working on an Installation for TATA Steel. We have also done work with steel in combination with fabric and glass.

Chinese Traditional Culture Museum, Beijing, China


With the Public Gallery, which consolidates two new historical centers for the presentation of China’s social legacy, a significant part of the new social quarter in the Olympic Green in Beijing is finished. The outer plan makes reference to the capability of the structure, which – with its changing tone and light impacts made by the sculptural organizing of the veneer – is plainly noticeable from all over.

The gallery building marks the northern finish of Beijing’s Focal Hub and is not a long way from the Public Arena, the Bird’s Home, and the Asia Monetary Center and AIIB Central Command. Interestingly, an open door is given to introduce important assortments of Chinese expressions and artworks and things of immaterial social legacy at public level.

The elements of the new structure, which is 50 meters high, around 200 meters in length, and 75 meters heigh, result from the metropolitan plan rules for social structures along the Stream Yangshan. The structure contains three unmistakable correspondingly and primarily organized parts: the plinth worked with light-hued Xiu Shi rock, the coated middle region, and the copper-shaded principal body drifting above. This division into three sections implies that a roofed-over patio is made at a level of 13.50 meters, giving public space by and large round the structure. It is safeguarded by the six-meter cantilever of the rooftop, which additionally works as sun oriented evaluating for the presentation regions behind the coated veneer.

The two doorways to the gallery are set along its focal hub, in this way giving passageways to the square toward the east as well regarding the waterway bank toward the west. They lead to the common focal lobby and on to a multifunctional corridor with around 400 seats and the presentation lobby for the transitory showcase of intuitive configurations. The space is open through the level of the structure and gets sunshine through square rooftop lights. As guests advance along the overhangs to the presentation lobbies they appreciate changing vistas of the space. The itemizing of the wall and roof components resounds with the plan of the structure envelope concerning construction and variety. The illuminated hexagonal roof boards are suggestive of woven designs in Chinese specialties and make a quiet climate along the entrance halls.

The gallery capabilities are organized more than three stories, with the transitory displays designated to the coated transitional level and the extremely durable presentations to the two accounts of the principal building volume. The foundational layout of the structure with its enormous section free regions fits an extraordinary assortment of show situations. Space is deftly partitioned with room-high parcel components, and that implies that the two exhibition halls can undoubtedly be consolidated under one rooftop, despite the fact that they cover very particular subjects: from one viewpoint immaterial social legacy like dance and music, and then again Chinese expressions and specialties with various, once in a while tiny, objects.

The underlying example utilized in the shade wall veneer connects with the examples and designs found in the workmanship and specialty displays. With its sun powered screening it produces a particular air with dappled light that is suggestive of customary Chinese insides. The three-layered impact of the structure envelope is accomplished with the huge hole of very nearly one-and-a-half meters between the external and inward exteriors and by a space structure comprising of pultruded profiles with a mat copper-shaded covering that have been woven into a network like help, projecting outward and internal in the upward planes.

Stade de Luxembourg Football & Rugby Stadium, Luxembourg



The passing counterpart for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar among Luxembourg and Azerbaijan occurred on September 1, 2021, and was the primary authority match to happen in the new Stade de Luxembourg Football and Rugby Arena. The new development of the football and rugby field toward the south of the city of Luxembourg supplanted the obsolete old.

Except for the plan for the actual arena, the job included a metropolitan master plan for the site of around 8 hectares. The new public field is situated on a piece of land that runs from east to west, with the A6 motorway toward the north and an arranged new street and tramway association with the south, the last option making a focal traffic and trade center near the arena.

The size of the pitch and the offices at the new field adhere to worldwide rules, implying that both the top UEFA arena class IV and that of the International Rugby Board (IRB) are accomplished. The arena includes a symmetrical design with a solitary level and slantingly shortened corner regions, with the show off arriving at right down to the edge of the pitch. Towards the south, a structure block obliges the useful offices for VIPs, the press, players, and authorities.

There, straight over the primary entry from the forecourt at the new Boulevard Kockelscheuer, is the admittance to the business anteroom with bordering press region and multifunctional room, which can likewise be utilized autonomously of games. The loadbearing construction of the show off rooftop comprises of a network of twofold angulated steel supports that are tightened to mirror the interior powers; the framework of braces ascends from all sides of the field and, at its most noteworthy point, conveys the pitch lighting framework.

Stade-de-Luxembourg-Football-and-Rugby-Stadium   Stade-de-Luxembourg-Football-and-Rugby-Stadium

With its 9,900 seats, the new stadium is relatively small as compared to global standards. Hence, the design was aimed at creating the atmosphere of a football arena also at this scale while also, at the same time, achieving a significant presence in the urban ensemble. To achieve this goal, the designer developed a uniform facade structure, as well as a simple geometric loadbearing structure. The diamond-shaped folded metal plate structure of the facade has a unifying effect on the overall volume of the building.

Additionally, at the second level high above the building and visible from outside, the line of lighting fixtures marks the dimensions of the pitch. This exposed site creates a dynamic and sculptural feature that can be seen by both stadium visitors and passers by. The effect is particularly noticeable at night when the pitch lighting and the illuminated facade structure radiate out to the city.

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October 2015