Design with Steel

STEEL A SUSTAINABLE MATERIAL

Steel is a wonderfully expressive construction material that excels in providing the flexibility to express or conceal a building’s structural frame, either externally or internally, and can help facilitate the artistic expression, says, Ar. Himanshu Bansal, Principal Architect. Anantham Architects

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Today, practically all buildings, bridges, high-rise buildings, and warehouses have major applications of structural steel over any other building material for construction from industrial equipment to finished products. This is mainly because of the innumerable benefits structural steel provides and brings numerous benefits to a project.

Prefabrication can be done in workshop with accuracy and managing the simultaneous civil foundation works at site to gain time. So, the final strength of the material is verified at the point of production, not after the material is already placed in the frame of the building. Rapid Erection & Construction in all seasons with close tolerances being maintained for integration with other building systems and minimal construction site-waste is achievable with structural steel. Large span structures with large areas of column free space in RCC are un-economical and time taking.

Structural steel framing system including decking and fire protection will typically cost 5 per cent – 7 per cent less than a concrete framing system making the project economical and time saving. Repeat type construction elements is reliable for fast production of fabricated steel structure as Structural steel is shop fabricated to close tolerances impossible for site cast materials.

It’s the most efficient building material as the structural steel buildings optimize building space efficiency through the use of slender columns maximizing useable floor space, longer spans for open, column-free spaces and the integration of HVAC systems into structural spaces allowing reduction of floor-to-floor heights. Structural steel is the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88 pe cent recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing.

The structural steel industry continues to pioneer new innovations for both the material and the use of structural steel as it allows the project architect a greater degree of expression and creativity in their design than most other construction materials.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
The structural steel industry continues to pioneer new innovations for both the material and the use of structural steel. Large spans and columns free spaces can be covered by steel sections and glazed exterior with Insulated wall cladding panels and give modern elevations to such sheds. For multi storied constructions the exterior treatment can be easily done using the secondary structure fixed with main building structure.

For places where knock down system is desired for large openings required for utility equipment installation high-tech fasteners can be used as per requirements. For lifts and escalator installation definite advantage is there for installation at the required stage of construction. Girder-Slab and Side-Plate are preferred for ongoing innovations addressing issues such as long-span deck systems, fire protection, connection optimization, coating systems and progressive collapse. The structural steel industry pioneered the movement toward open standards and interoperable software that has most recently resulted in the growth in popularity of Building Information Modeling for the exchange of information between structural design, detailing and manufacturing/fabrication programs. Projects taking advantage of this vertical integration within the structural steel industry can demonstrate cost savings of up to 20 per cent on the structural package.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Steel is a wonderfully expressive construction material that excels in providing the flexibility to express or conceal a building’s structural frame, either externally or internally, and can help facilitate the artistic expression the client desires.

The use of steel construction, in its many forms, should be considered at the concept design stage and different steel sections strongly depends on its ability to create architecturally interesting or long-span solutions, cladding combined with savings in the construction programme and its light weight leading to reduced loading on foundations. Hot rolled sections used for main framing are available in Light Medium and heavy sections besides the wide flanged and parallel flange section giving a wide range of selection as per design requirements. Hollow square sections and Rectangular sections are available for use in elevation requirements. Z sections C sections are available in MS and Galvanized forms for use in cladding and roofing to ensure that the steel consumption is optimized.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Since, steel is strong, recycle and flexible and can be used for just about any application, ultimately it is well-suited for modular construction, which will become more common as building information modeling, spurred by new technological advances.

Time being the essence of a project it calls for the simultaneous work at site and at workshop. The full advantage is in cost control can be possible where repetitive elements are used. Large areas of Logistic Parks, Warehousing Sheds and Sheds for agricultural products are must for any developing country. Rapid development of this infra structure is possible with PEB structures. The need for steel in construction will only expand as continued need for solid infrastructure does and with populations growing and cities expanding, demand will only continue to climb.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Though PEB fabrication has developed in the last ten years it is necessary to develop similar facility of automation of fabrication, surface preparation of steel structure, painting coating, formation of sheeting and light sections which can be shifted at the site and fast fabrication is done at the site where large tonnage is to be fabricated. After, the fabrication the mobile fabrication plant can shift to the next site. This way the clients will feel secured in releasing quick payments after receipt of material at their site.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We have executed the following projects using steel: MIPL, Mumbai, Anamika Sugar Mill Pvt. Ltd, Janak foods, Harit Poly tech, S A Aluminum industry, Klas Products, Sky lark Dying and processing and Aveer Warehouse.

STEEL A UNIVERSAL DESIGN LANGUAGE

Steel is a viable alternative, when offered as a part of a holistic solution. When steel is used in the form of space frames, and the structure is analysed as a three-dimensional form, it results incredibly light and spectacular forms. The use of steel as space frames, trusses and Vierendeel girders allows a designer to create unique languages for buildings and, the structural properties of steel, allow for it to be economical, states,
Ar. Amin Nayar, CEO, ANA Design Studio Pvt Ltd

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
To begin with, from the standpoint of buildings, steel really cannot be qualified as a “non-conventional material”. Not just globally, but in India as well, steel has been used as a building material for a long time. The iconic Howrah bridge is an example, as are so many other buildings, structures and building elements across the country. In fact, to add a “feel” of technology and contemporary imagery, architects turn to steel.

All the development around aviation, has also seen steel as a major component of buildings, whether it is for terminals or for logistics support centers. Terminal building design especially, has added a slew of interesting results using steel tubular structures, lighting, and acoustic finishes.

Compared to the usage of masonry and concrete, steel will have several advantages.

It can (and rather needs to be) completely pre-planned and pre-designed/engineered. As a material, it is not forgiving of errors and careless work, and by its very nature, increases the care, professionalism, and foresight that buildings and structures need.

It lends itself to engineered, geometric solutions and therefore, optimization of material. The physical planning and geometry of the buildings has largely been adapted to the design of formwork, and ease of pouring concrete. Steel allows of the usage of structural material in complex biomimicry, and therefore, potentially a large drop in the material consumption itself. In the long term, if manufacturers can invest in the technical skills and machining technology for welding and fabricating natural forms, we can see a substantial drop in steel consumption, reduction in not just the overall monetary cost, but also environmental cost, and an increase in value chain.

This also extends as an overall project saving, from the standpoint of foundation costs. Since the overall superstructure is lighter, the reactions on the foundation are reduced, and, will provide a consequent reduction in foundation/ piling costs.
Since steel can be formed/fabricated as space frames and trusses, the space between beams can be used for accommodating building services, therefore, optimizing floor to floor heights. It has a collateral saving of energy by using less of it for movement from floor to floor. Vierendeel girders can be another important contributor to creating more flexibility in multi-storey buildings.

A building designed in steel, will also allow for other engineering services to be prefabricated, since tolerances will be known. In high service buildings, often attic or plenum spaces are left in the entire volume of the building, to cater to services, being installed “later”. The truth is, building services and their general location and approximate sizing is known early during the design process. By considering the actual attic or plenum spaces required, the building services can be neatly tucked away, much like the inside of the bonnet of a car. And overall, save spatial volume of the building, provide more usable real estate in the same built up area, and reduce the sizing of building services through optimization. It has a huge ability to be salvaged and re-used after its active life in the building.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
I believe steel has a very defined and universal language of design. It allows for very thin members and the quality of making a building feel weightless. When steel is used in the form of space frames, and the structure is analysed as a three-dimensional form, it results in incredibly light and spectacular forms. The use of steel as space frames, trusses and Vierendeel girders allows a designer to create unique languages for buildings and, the structural properties of steel, allow for it to be economical.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
In India, we seem to have a bit of chicken and egg situation on the proliferation of steel as a structural member. There is no doubt, that designers and the industry will benefit from the availability of a larger range of tubes and sections, I do feel that there is also a lack of eco-system for their widespread usage.

On the top of the pile, in terms of the need for change/ innovation are:
• Standardization and widespread training for welders and building fitters.
• Domestically produced and economical intumescent/ fire safe coatings.
• Updating the IS Codes for industrial production of buildings, beyond rolled steel sections.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
I believe there will be three large sections of development that will emerge and take a centre stage as far as steel buildings are concerned:

The proliferation of steel as a structural member and commodity in medium size and medium rise buildings. This will probably be the single largest “revolution” in terms of the breadth of usage as well as overall improvement in the stock/ quality of our buildings. The way RCC is being used (largely un-designed) in the smaller markets is a disaster waiting to happen, especially from the standpoint of seismic safety. Steel structural elements as a commodity offer a cheap, industrial, and quickly proliferating alternative. It will provide a massive impetus not just to small and medium steel fabrication industries but also associated industries such as bolts/ fastener manufacturing and engineered panels for walls/ roofing etc. In the urban infrastructure segment, especially for light rail and mass transit applications. In industry, for high performance buildings, as production and technology mature, and the need is felt for “building performance” rather than sheds.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Before we look at a strategy for wider acceptance of steel, let us look at what “works” for RCC/ Brick today:
– Its conspired a “solid” material; robust and long lasting.
– Its “easy” and “low skill” workmen can use it.
– Mistakes are easy to rectify.

I believe a strong narrative need to be created along the following lines: Performance / efficiency and strength/longevity of steel in architecture, especially from the standpoint of seismic performance, speed, and economy. Pride in high performance/ skilled work. It will need the design and implementation of skill development and certification courses, and up-skilling of workforce. The unfortunate migration of labour force doe to the COVID lockdown has exposed the risk and dependence of the construction industry on “unskilled manpower”. It is a vicious cycle, and we cannot go back to it. Getting people skilled and efficient is the only way forward.

Indian engineering and detailing tools that allow a largely “plug and play” model of drafting and detailing for steel members. It will take away the “steel detailing phobia” from the design industry and allow design teams to adopt this material more easily. Steel is a viable alternative, when offered as a part of a holistic solution. So long as we have people trying to make a steel frame, with brick infill, we will not move forward.

The steel industry needs to join hands with building component and panel-based solutions providers, as well as integrate elements such as commoditised hollow cored slabs etc. When the solution is offered as a complete set (structure-slabs-walls-doors and windows) it will make much more sense for people to switch and brings down the overall cost of building construction.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
Kashmir University in Srinagar is one of the oldest and most respected institutions of higher learning in the valley. The University has grown in size and stature over the years, and a need was felt to create an administrative hub, which could accommodate the office of the Vice Chancellor, the Registrar and Deans, apart from the administrative heads such as Finance and Accounts, Estates and Development and various other administrative functions.

STEEL an Efficient Solution

“There is always a mental picture of how things should be. It seldom matches the real picture, which is invariably marred by the smudges of reality. Occasionally, the real picture comes close to the one we carry in our heads. On a section of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), I see a closeness between the real and the imagined. More significantly, it is a big boost to road safety on this section where vehicular traffic moves faster.” – THE HINDU

Thanks to steel says Ar. Tahaer Zoyab, Co-Founder, Triple O Studio

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel is versatile and finds its uses in varied scales from being integral to a larger project frame to the finest of interior detailing. Steel as a building material in many typologies results in lower project costs and offers durability to the structure. Steel performs better on a sustainable construction index because it allows for repurposing that concrete does not allow. This gives steel a significant value even after the life of a project.

How can structural steel be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solutions?
Structural steel is a great economic solution since it optimizes the speed of construction and offers flexibility in design, because of its weight and possible reuse. Structural steel has the advantage of looking much lighter than a framed concrete structure and this lightness offers a wider palette of design possibilities for the final form.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
We believe the market offers a good range of options and as a result allows for way more permutations and combinations of their usage. Steel is also a material that has a raw aesthetic that can be celebrated easily with nothing but paint.

What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
I envision projects whose ecological footprint is minimal – and once its need is served – it is retained or retrofitted or shifted as per demand. This allows us to look at steel as being part of a ‘tool-kit’ that allows architecture to keep evolving or shifting or changing easily. This may also greatly influence the way we think about cities, when, we know we have the option of shifting buildings and structures at ease.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Forums that marry the engineering of steel, the technical knowledge for steel usage with the creative expression of design could greatly promote structural steel construction.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We, at Triple O Studio, have used steel in many ways ranging from floor extensions and facade skins to holistic designs. Given the proximity to the sea in Chennai – corrosion is a factor that deters the use of steel in some cases. One of our iconic projects would be the Gateway Bridge FOB (Footover Bridge) located along the Rajiv Gandhi OMR IT expressway.

Steel for us, has proven time and time again to be the best choice of material for certain types of construction. For a bridge of this nature – it had to be steel. As it ensures, minimal disturbance to the road and bulk of the construction was made in a factory and was only set up at site. Lots of savings in terms of time and as a result – cost. Only with steel could such slender structural frameworks and columns be possible. The FOB is fortified by the one–sided cable – stayed structure. Catapult shaped columns form the vertical support while steel beams transfer the pedestrian load to these columns. These columns are designed to be a deterrent to graffiti and do not offer much surface area for vandalism. The deliberately bent railings are porous and offer clear visibility. These railings prevent any form of abuse, stalking and provision for hoardings. All these design aspects were made possible through Steel, that forms the nexus in the FOB’s design.

Steel A Preferred Material

Steel has been the preferred material of choice in various segments of the construction industry and has many tangible benefits over other materials. It is bendable, malleable and can be used to create a form, otherwise, challenging to be made from other materials, utters,

Ali Abbasi, Principal Architect, A Cube Architects

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel is a wonderful material for construction yet to be fully explored by architects in India. The large column free spans and innovations in building forms and speed of construction, that use of steel structures brings forth are unmatched by any other material.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Steel as a construction material has many tangible benefits over other materials. It is bendable, malleable and can be used to create a form, otherwise, challenging to be made from other materials.

Since, steel sections can be fabricated at factory and assembled on site it becomes faster and easier for achieving a very complicated massing of forms in a shorter time. Cost of construction should be seen not only in terms of material costs, but also should be evaluated in terms of time taken in completing the project and handing over the building to its users. Time taken to complete a steel building project is faster and gives us huge benefits as compared to other more conventional methods provided its planned well from the beginning.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
There are lots of interesting options currently available in the market in terms of sections and grades or if any special sections are required, they can be made available from other suppliers outside the country.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel has been the preferred material of choice in various segments of the construction industry namely industrial and warehouse, retail shopping malls, commercial spaces and IT parks, auditorium, and cinemas where large spans and column free spaces are required.

Highrise towers and other specialized buildings are also being designed with steel structures. Steel buildings will be the possible solution to provide mass housing to the over congested cities where urgent resettlement of the dilapidated building tenements need to be done. It might also be the way forward for building large affordable housing to people.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Steel should be promoted as a material of choice in the construction industry by educating its tangible benefits to architects, developers, and engineers. Seminars and workshops should bring together people from the industry to interact and resolve issues that might hinder the use of steel construction.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
Reception Block – A building block at the entrance with a grand reception area, fine dine restaurant and a semi open-semi covered banquet area which would serve as a welcoming point for guests and would act as a focal gathering point for the resort with themed villas.

Also, an area dedicated to the back of the house and ancillary service areas required for functioning of the resort were added but taking care of not to hamper the circulation or ambience of key areas of the luxury spaced reception block.

Steel Promotes Architecture Freedom

Steel has a clinching factor of optimization of time which is an attribute to defining and determining the financial viabilities of the project. In the overall discourse of integrating steel with architecture, what we see as a challenge is more architectural than engineering, while, the relationship between the two is best described as symbiotic, says,
AR. MUTHUKUMAR DHANDAPANI, Studio Director-Projects, Morphogenesis

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel has an advantage of optimization of time which is a clinching factor.

In the current day and age, saved time would attribute to defining and determining the financial viabilities of the project.

How can structural steel be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Whilst time already attributes to the economical solution, the gamechanger in this exercise, stems from the fire protection of steel which determines and pushes the envelope on the cost parameters, hence the challenge and innovation lies in technicalities of how to use steel, which mode of fire protection (spray or paint) and where to use.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
In the overall discourse of integrating steel with architecture, what we see as a challenge is more architectural than engineering, while, the relationship between the two is best described as symbiotic. The sections and grades have in the many years have evolved to an accepted machine age aesthetics while feeling the creative appetite of designers.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
From a superficial perspective, the idea could be perceived as fancy output emanating from the computers to culminating to a built form in the site. However, if we were to nab it right, the USP steel construction could bring to our discourse will be in terms of liberating our rigidity, be it in terms of aesthetics or dogma attached to the time of construction.

In other words, the architectural world we inhabit would shift from an era of mass production to mass customization owing to the flexibility the engineering offers when you use steel as a primary building material.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The Industry should strategize mass customization and optimization of time which in turn would have an implication on the cost and finally the idea of assembly from a factory finished product perspective should be the major tenet of promotion.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you? 
Apollo Tyres Headquarters, Gurugram

Steel Propels Creativity

Steel breaks many foregone conclusions when it comes to aesthetics. It tops the list because of its high strength to weight ratio with lesser weight when compared to many other materials. It opens out of box thinking, where integration and manipulation of spaces happens to create an amalgamation of an eccentric spatial experience, says. Ar. Murali Murugan, Chief Architect, Murali Architects

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Out of the profuse advantages of steel in relation to the conventional materials, there are some firm reasons why they stand out. While going beyond the boundaries of conventional thinking, steel comes as it can stretch the clear span to maximum extent also it is versatile and flexible with the shapes of the design; especially while going fluid geometry where experimentation of spaces happens and new experiences emerge.

It can also play the role of the skeleton as well as the skin of the structure. Technically, steel tops the list because of its high strength to weight ratio with lesser weight when compared to many other materials. While speaking about the project time, the process happens quickly, as they are prefabricated off-site and can be assembled on-site rapidly.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer an economical solution?
Steel as a structural element can break many foregone conclusions when it comes to aesthetics. This is the material where play of forms, irrespective of its size happens. It opens out of box thinking, where integration and manipulation of spaces happens to create an amalgamation of an eccentric spatial experience.

As a result, it creates a visual amazement and admiration. Steel can be firm and rigid as well as fluid which simply flows through. Steel are the only go to have structures with a floating feel, like long cantilevers and long-span clear roofing system. Economically, it is quick in construction as the on-site work is only assembling. It requires less maintenance with good scrap value and can also be recycled.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Today, a wide variety of steel sections and grades are available which can be innovatively used for structural as well as aesthetical purposes. Where innovation and creativity need to be exhibited, steel plays a major role. We use sections for some residential projects for structural support where the construction needs to be completed quickly and steel sheets are used for creative play of patterns which creates a new aesthetical identity to the structure.

What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Diversified and innovative steel structures were constructed in the past, such as Akashi – Kaikyo Bridge which is the world’s longest suspension bridge. Due to the development of the high-performance steel, there happened development and progress in the steel structures as well.

Because of this advancement, innovations in steel are fairly high and low strength steels, high bridge performance steel, seismic-resistant steel, fire-resistant steel, corrosion-resistant steel, and size flexible beams are made which enables and pushes the boundaries in creating exceptional structures in steel materials. All these years because of the usage of conventional materials the space perception has narrowed down. But now the innovation in steel has widened our space perception to a new dimension where form flows through the space which was not much explored before.

Moving towards the future where experimentation of today takes its form, the monotony of the present society breaks and spaces takes new forms, and steel being a versatile material, address all the above.

What should be the strategy of the industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Collaboration of steel industry with architects in creating and placing futuristic steel structures for people to use, see and admire in public spaces helps in acknowledging the public with the effectiveness of steel. It brings them the comfortability in using them and makes them aware of its practicality. Expo and Conferences for the commoners help in taking steel to them so that the establishment happens at all levels.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We are currently working on a holiday home project at Yercaud where a structural steel system is used. The total system has been pre-planned and the steel frames are fabricated at workshop and assembled at site which saved a lot of time in the construction process. The Framing works are fabricated considering the Wind loads.

The flexibility enabled in achieving clear wide spans. Trees in the site can flow through the building, out of the flexibility in the structural system. Metal decks are designed to protrude in the air, hanging out from the main system. The steel system is also being used in one of our other commercial projects where patterns are articulated in the façade. This façade system also flows sharply into the external space from the system. Overall it creates modular planes of various axes bringing out a futuristic design palette.

Steel Aids Precision

Steel’s malleability and ductility along with cost bends to our will to create ever large span structures. The use of steel is also beneficial during time constraints when steel prefabrication can take place off-site and quick assembly can be achieved on-site with guaranteed precision says
SCOTT KNOX, STUDIO DIRECTOR OF DESIGN, CREATIVE GROUP

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
We constantly review technological advancements and update the materials recommended for design and construction. Steel is a preferred material due to its versatility. Steel’s strength to weight ratio enables light weight forms and flexibility in regenerative design projects.

Steel’s malleability and ductility along with cost bends to our will to create ever large span structures. The use of steel is also beneficial during time constraints when steel prefabrication can take place off-site and quick assembly can be achieved on-site with guaranteed precision.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
The widespread use of steel during the industrial revolution evolved after the construction of Eiffel Tower. The range of grades and types of steel available globally is phenomenal. We have several go to steel sections and structural members to construct our most challenging designs. In our Chennai Airport project 508mm dia hot bent circular sections of 355 grades were used for the first time in India to achieve its unique shape. (Pic of Chennai Airport) This truss which shapes the roof has a large span with 24m cantilever.

In our Raipur Airport, the iconic roof of the structure was feasible from analysis software (STAAD) that was used to assimilate more than 14,500 tubular members. Each primary truss used in this roof transfers the load to the steel columns with flaring arms on each end, giving them the name of ‘Tree Columns.’

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
The most significant steel trend is that the design, detailing, and construction process is being tuned. Thumb-rules were established over millennia from empirical experience. The French developed mathematical models to form bridges and handle the dynamic loading of trains over a century ago. The Towers have risen from the Paris skyline to distant desserts at unbelievable heights and now we design long-span roofs soaring overhead due to our ability to refine the use of steel. Our tools and talent can see where excess lies in a building’s structure. The beauty of this process comes from modelling steel’s strength and using analysis to listen to the material itself. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is one of many tuning pegs in this trend. As a simple analogy, FEA is a microphone that amplifies the sound of strength in structural design.

Once a tedious and time-consuming task, FEA was mainly used on signature buildings and repetitive structural elements that could afford the time and expense. As the advancement of computational analysis has grown in projects around the world our ability to apply FEA has produced better buildings. There’s something ephemeral about seeing a column or truss that has not 1 KG material than needed. Like nature herself, proportional grace is awe inspiring. We’ve all seen the bulky and awkwardness of overbuild, and the makeshift Jugaad applied around a weak links that fail. Modelling and simulation are the future for all structural design materials. Engineers using FEA modelling tools can listen to each material to refine the design.

Along with the control over structure FEA affords, the Architecture Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry is structurally changing our methods and relationships. In mechanical work Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulates HVAC performance. In lighting we simulate Lux levels. Architects simulate heat gain, orientation, and acoustics to fine-tune buildings around the people who use them. Now we see how FEA (and all these new methods) are forming the head of a larger trend. That trend is greater than the plethora “business models” floating around, that trend is the rise in use of Building Information Modelling.

BIM is both technology and the relationship between stakeholders in AEC. By geo-locating and centralizing shared information into a single model we are making complex building projects faster, better, and more efficient. The bane of AEC has been excessive redundancy, coordination, and rework at every step. From pre-design to post-occupancy every stakeholder contributes their expertise in the process of developing a virtual model of the building. What does this mean for Steel?

Every building material sector gain from understanding their materials’ potential, proving that potential to other stakeholders, and contributing that knowledge in a meaningful way. In BIM the most meaningful form is “your” smart objects for the design & documentation process. Like the “blocks” of CAD, the parametric “families” in BIM are Steel’s virtual starting point. As we model a structural design a family of steel components gives us more accurate results at the earliest stage of design. By query the model is used to track total tonnage and loading capacity. And FEA? That analysis is performed on the structural BIM model during Schematic and Detail Design stages. At Pre-construction stage BIM clash-detection highlights any point in space where two different assemblies, like a steel beam intersecting an HVAC duct. Query & analysis, design & construction, materials & performance, these are the interdependencies of Building. Now, this global trend incorporating BIM tools and the Stakeholder alignment is a necessity to make design and construction a responsive rather than a tedious process.

 

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
One example of this potential was stadium design in just 1 day!
At the Parametric Design Conference (UPenn, 2002) the HOK Sports Design Head talked about his vision of designing the form of a stadium with over 50K seat sightlines in just one day. Like FEA, this task used to take months of sampling seats, drawing each seating section to estimate the distance and angle of a fan’s sightline to the middle of the playing field. With parametric modelling seeing the average, min/max for all sightline is quickly and easily demonstrated. During the conference we saw the first iterations of their Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) in practice. But the true goal isn’t just to produce projects quickly, we’re automating the time consuming and tedious tasks to allow people from designers to contractors to focus on the building performance, sustainable, and realize the best design. What results from this change in practice?

Whether we’re developing new airports (Chennai Airport), Train Stations (Charbagh Railway Station.), Metros (Koba Circle), or skyscrapers (Skyone) we’re moving to a new tune. In the industrial age Le Corbusier wrote: “Une maison est une machine-à-habitué”, “A house is a machine for living in”. Currently, I see an AEC industry able to finely tune buildings as “instruments for life”.

Steel Facilitates Efficiency

Structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to resolve fluid geometry and large spans in the most economical way compared to conventional technology. Steel fabrication saves time ensuring rigid quality control. Another advantage is the possibility of larger spans and to resolve the fluid geometry, complexity of design with steel as skeleton says Ar. Sandip Agarwal, Director, Practice Design Pvt Ltd

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
There are multiple benefits of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials. Steel fabrication is done offsite in controlled factory conditions saving time and ensuring rigid quality control. As the fabrication of steel is done offsite it overlaps with the rest of the work at site, a good time advantage. The prefabricated steel is installed as soon as it arrives at site, saving precious site yard space. Another, major advantage is the possibility of larger spans and to resolve the fluid geometry, complexity of design with steel as skeleton.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to resolve fluid geometry and large spans in the most economical way compared to conventional technology. As a firm we work a lot with difficult geometry like; for our wrap in Esplanade Bhubaneswar or Deya in Atmosphere. Both were extremely complicated structures and for Deya the entire structure was articulated and defined by Web structures and MN Consultants fabricated on ground and lifted in the sky, literally the formation of cloud; Deya in Bengali!

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Today, in India fortunately availability and customization of sections/grades is not difficult. The steel producers have kept pace with various demands of creativity. The need of the hour is to train and skill our engineers and technicians in precision welding, lifting and programing skills

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
The scale of public architecture like retail and transit structures are growing in India to cater to the huge demand in India. The complexity, spans, fluidity of new-generation buildings will need a hybrid steel and conventional engineering to resolve.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Steel industry needs to introduce & promote design thinking with steel amongst young architects and engineers. Design competitions, awards, knowledge series, factory visits, site visits conducted to introduce with best practices in steel will help.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We were involved with two extremely complex steel structures, Deya- Atmosphere, Kolkata and Wrap in Esplanade Bhubaneswar. High precision welding and engineering in Deya ensured that deflection was as precisely predicted in design stage. The lifting of 2300 ton Deya, covered by the National Geographic Mega Structures was an awe-inspiring event for the city of Kolkata.

Steel integrates seamlessly with cladding skin and glass, creating a perfect skeleton which is lean and malleable. Steel made it possible to create Deya the way it was envisaged.

Currently we are doing a complex 1.6 million sq. ft. retail development in Kolkata using a hybrid model of steel structure and RCC to manage large spans of 26 meters and time constraints in partnership with Sterling Engineering and SPA Consultants.

Steel Affirms Timely Construction

Steel constructions seems to be a sustainable solution in construction industry and has witnessed that steel construction has an edge over other construction systems. It provides the possibility of moving forms to another location based on the need and has ability to be designed and shaped for large span design says,
Ar. Ramkirana Bhat, Associate Director
Urban Frame (Space Matrix Group)

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Speed of market is the mantra in today’s time of high growth. The competitive market scenario is presenting new innovations in the field of design & construction with each passing day. One thing that has sustained has been the use of steel in construction. It is witnessed that steel construction has an edge over other construction systems.

Another, clear advantage is the ability to deal with complex structures both in terms of spans and more importantly in creating dynamic forms. Steel construction provides the possibility of moving forms to another location based on the need. The flexibility to make them adaptable to an existing built form makes it the best suited option to explore and exploit. Metal has a beautiful ability to be designed and shaped for large span design. This can be done without any hinderances, thus, making it an obvious choice for construction.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Prefabrication ensures that the designed steel structure can be segmented elsewhere and assembled at site. This not only provides flexibility for completing multiple tasks simultaneously at site, but also ensures timely completion of the design. Time being an essential factor in construction, steel structures alleviate delays. The Time factor and the flexible reuse of steel contributes in yielding economical solutions. When we look around us, most of the complex designs are solved with the use of metal, bridges, hangers, towers and industries, creating not only an efficient and but also an elegant sense of space.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
In our experience most of the commonly used grades are available in India, but the industry will need to closely watch the changing demand scenario. This improves our engagement with the market, challenging our outlook for seeking experts to design steel structures. A wonderful opportunity to collaborate, contribute and design more complex structures and bridging this gap between creative demands with newer solutions is essential.

A gamut of options is available to create, explore and shape better projects through newer solutions. Technology also elevates better chances to provide apt solutions, through simulations. This, therefore, not only creates platform to bring in better construction methods and technologies into play but also adds another layer of designing and creating better structures adding on to the quality of the spaces we reside in. Project assessment through augmented models helps in fabrication of steel structures creating wormhole from beginning to the end of the construction.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Upskilling both qualitatively & numerically in design & execution will have an uptick & technology will play a key role. With growing high-density urbanization & corresponding verticalization of cities, a big shift towards steel construction is high. Also, steel constructions seem to be a more sustainable solution in construction industry. Drifting towards high rise in urban areas, steel will be an important material which will see its light of day soon.

This provides faster construction rate and better building efficiency. Adept use of technology in synergy with innovative solutions is transforming the construction industry. Demand for project timeline have been steep and the best solutions to abridge the timelines is through the usage of prefabrication techniques. There will soon be a hiatus in other material usage for flexible design solutions to meet adequate requirements. A direction towards sustainability will strongly drive more use of green materials soon.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Smart city missions are paving new cycle of development across the country encouraging an active participation by the Industry which is an opportunity that can’t be missed. Collaboration with design schools & international experts towards knowledge sharing & exploration can be a continual process which will have a long-term impact.

Dense urban developments will soon demand faster and large-scale projects in various pockets of the city, across the country. A continual learning in adapting steel design is necessary to set newer methods to current solutions. Precedents from many countries and cities abroad can set benchmarks for shaping our cities better. Adaptive usage of this flexible material ensures better standards of construction.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
Roofing for tennis courts at Padukone Dravid centre for sports excellence –
The idea of springing from ground to move higher was taken as a metaphoric representation of rising in sports. This was thus captured with a dynamic form. A fluid movement and connection were emphasized to achieve this idea. Large span activates witnessed in this project promoted the idea to explore steel structures.

Sporting facilities are best suited for unhindered spaces, for both the indoor and outdoor sports. Biophilia being a strong concept, that urban frame promotes, a symbiotic relationship between nature and design was therefore achieved. Mimicking the shapes of nature, the canopy over the five tennis courts both resonates as well as transforms itself a part of the flora and fauna surrounding it. The strong connect with nature, yet serving its function is what makes people more invested and focused on the activities it manifests in this space.

Steel Transforms Aesthetic Vision

Structural steel is now being used extensively in construction projects the various technology associated with its production, fabrications, customization and installation require a giant leap in technology. Steel gives us the ability to have a clean and minimalistic detailing which adds to the architect’s aesthetics of our project. 
In the coming years, we foresee a huge jump in steel technology which in turn would enable design architects like us to explore new age and futuristic architecture, says,
Ar. Pathik Joshi, Kalayojan, urban designers & architects…

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
In any project construction timelines are very critical and speeding up the construction saves a lot of time which in turn saves money. Also, due to the higher structural durability steel demands sleeker sections than compared to concrete.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Architects whose design and vision for project demand large cantilevered and/or column free/long span spaces requires the use of structural steel, to economize on cost and construction time.

Steel gives us the ability to have clean and minimalistic detailing which adds to the architectural aesthetics of our projects. In one of our ongoing projects of International Christian Worship Centre we are able to achieve a canopy cantilevering 48metres without support only because of structural steel.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Various sections/ grades are available in the market and, they
can be customized to a great extent. Though, industry experts like
fabricators are better positioned to answer this question.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Though structural steel is now being used extensively in construction projects the various technology associated with its production, fabrications, customization and installation require a giant leap in technology. In the coming years, we foresee a huge jump in steel technology which in turn would enable a design architects like us to explore new age architecture.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
After having successfully designed one of India’s only extreme adventure sports facility – Bungy Jumping, Flying Fox and Giant Swing facility at Rishikesh (Ranked as no.1 tourist place of visit by Trip Advisor), for Jumpin Heights adventures Pvt Ltd. Kalayojan got opportunity to design yet another extreme adventure facility for the same client (in JV with goa tourism development corporation) at India’s foremost tourist destination, Goa.

Overlooking a lake, the location itself is impressive, untouched and nestled among the Goan hill ranges. The challenge was to construct a premier and one of its kind Bungy facility for Goa that paved a way for extreme adventure sports here. We wanted to build a structure that was at once landmark and unquestionably safe for people. Considering the geographical aspects and topography of the region, the safety aspects of a project of this scale and with a view of conserving the environment around us, several technical aspects were studied and suitably employed. The result is a landmark steel structure along the banks of Goa’s most famous Mayem lake. A bungy tower constructed on a footprint of only 6m x 6m with its height towering to 58m – that is close to a 16 storied building! This is also a remarkable achievement from an architectural point of view, paving way for modern, eco-sensitive infrastructure that puts paramount importance on the environment. The Goa Tourism Dept envisioned a new identity to boost tourism at this lake making it an epicentre of adventure, thrill and rejuvenation. An exciting natural track of 2m width help link the tower and another ancillary facilities. The entire development was done keeping entire existing flora and fauna intact. This elevates the Mayem Lake region as the perfect tourist destination for adventure and nature lovers visiting Goa.

Photo credit – Prathamesh