Design with Steel

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 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 Restyles Construction Dynamics

Structural steel can be molded in any shape and sections. It can be produced off-site with greater accuracy allowing buildings, to be built at site faster while ensuring a higher quality of construction.

Steel as a building material does provide “a form of softness” to the solidity of an architectural mass, and, helps to explore new formal typologies in building design. It does open new possibilities in architectural design, due to its robust structural strength along with its flexibility, states,
Ar. CUNAL PARMAR, DESIGN DIRECTOR, FLXBL DESIGN STUDIO

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Materials are critical to architecture with regards to the articulation of form and the experience of space. The choice of the construction material and its inherent properties drive the design decisions and the construction process. Steel does open new possibilities in architectural design, due to its robust structural strength along with its flexibility.  Steel as a building material does provide “a form of softness” to the solidity of an architectural mass, and, helps to explore new formal typologies in building design.

Structural steel can be molded in any shape and sections. It can be produced off-site with greater accuracy allowing buildings, to be built at site faster while ensuring a higher quality of construction.

We are trying to change a “vernacular image culture of steel buildings” to explore new aesthetics in design, not only by pushing the new design-thoughts into traditional industrial architectural style but incorporating the steel architecture into different programmatic typologies as well. Steel may be one of the few construction materials, which is completely recyclable and re-usable, and we hope that by using it more often we are able to help encourage its use in mainstream projects and smaller buildings.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
As a consequence of changing market conditions and customer expectations in India, we are seeing demand in the building industry for high quality construction systems, that are quick to build thereby facilitate cost savings. Steel, especially when prefabricated has been an effective solution to meet these requirements.

These benefits are largely limited though to larger projects or those having special requirements. The main challenge one sees today is in terms of making steel construction economical for smaller projects. Most architects especially in India work on projects that are smaller in scale and the lack of cost-effective high-quality solutions tailored to their needs limits design innovation.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Although it is possible to work with steel sections found in the market. It is challenging if one needs custom designed sections or components for a project. The ability of vendors to deliver, within a reasonable time frame becomes a limiting factor, in terms of formal exploration and design innovation.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Clients in India will be more open to the use steel in the mainstream construction. The demand will be driven by a need for not just quick construction methods, tight sites that would necessitate prefabrication and the need for green certifications, but also willingness to explore new ideas and aesthetics.

The demand for steel buildings will increase but the challenge will be for vendors, fabricators and contractors to provide customized solutions and a high-quality product to suit projects across the board and to suit all budgets. The usage of steel is going to be largely driven by the availability of a sound supply of material, skilled labor and consultants. The absence of these can erode any potential scope for growth.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
We need more platforms to increase more academic and professional discourse between design and construction teams. More exposure should be given to architecture students and young architects with respect to the practical attributes of design & construction challenges as well as giving them opportunities for visiting project sites & manufacturing facilities.

Designers need to know, how to design buildings in steel and the process needs to be initiated while they are still in college. Information and training needs to also be easily available to practicing professionals to allow them to transition from other conventional construction methods to steel construction.

We also need to train contractors and construction workers to be able to deliver a high-quality building. The lack of skilled labor especially in smaller towns or for smaller projects will limit opportunities for growth.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We are pursuing few projects; experimenting with new ideas of form and active metal facades using steel as a primary material. Apart from that we would like to mention two key built-projects, Sky Line Office and Yellow Box Office, where the idea was to defy gravity to create “expressive architecture” and create incidental voids and immersive experiential spaces outside and inside the building.

The corporate office of a city-based construction company, Skyline Office Building is a modest 4000 sq. ft. of space that was given a conspicuous corporate shape and form quite unconventional for an industrial area in Ahmedabad. The striking red origami form in steel seems to levitate over a garden area, on slender steel girders that give the building an industrial aesthetic. The faceted planes are carried forward in the landscaped areas, tying them with the floating mass above that draws one’s attention when seen from the highway. The organic form is carried through into the interior spaces giving it a dynamism that extends outwards to the horizon through the panoramic glass walls on three sides.

The Yellow Box Office finds its freedom of being reconfigurable and portable within the realm of pre-fab architecture by using steel as a primary material. This mobile office building currently holds two primary boxes that house thoughtfully laid out programmatic spaces. The highlight of the structure – a pitched yellow box interestingly works as a staircase unit which connects lower level with the upper level. The first primary box sits on the ground and is dedicated to the administrative functions. While the second box, called the light box, levitates above to hold the executive functions. The executive office maintains an upscale corporate environment with a glass wall giving the incumbents access to bountiful natural light and an uninterrupted view of the outside.

Steel A Multifaceted Material

Structural steel is very flexible which can be moulded into any shape, without changing its properties and can be converted into sheets or turned into wires as per the design requirement. It is relatively cheap compared to other building materials. It also accelerates the construction process unlike any other conventional material, says, Ar. Ayan Sen, Principal Architect, Ayan Sen Architects

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Advantage of structural steel is that it is tensile in nature and has high strength to weight ratio and is also quite durable. In large structure, the steel sections will be small and lightweight, unlike other conventional materials. Steel can be easily fabricated and produced massively.

Steel sections can be produced off-site at shop floors and then assembled onsite. This saves time and increases the efficiency of the overall construction process. Structural steel structures can withstand external pressure such as earthquakes, thunderstorms, and cyclones.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Structural steel is very flexible which can be moulded into any shape, without changing its properties and can be converted into sheets or turned into wires as per the design requirement. It is relatively cheap compared to other building materials. It also accelerates the construction process unlike any other conventional material.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The geometry of the project visually interfaces the curved roof, and the cuboid form of the restaurant block. These two geometrics of the curve and the cuboids essentially express the philosophy of the built (cuboids) and the curve (nature). As per structural requirements we have used underwritten sections: (SHS) 113.5 x113.5 x 5.4 THK., (SHS) 113.5 x113.5 x 5.4 THK., (SHS) 50 x 50 x 3.6 THK. (SHS) 113.5 x113.5 x 5.4 THK., (RHS) 200 x100 x 5.0 THK., (RHS) 200 x100 x 5.0 THK.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
We feel the shortage of labor and demand for accuracy will instigate as per steel’s cost activity, and accurate system. For creative projects, where roof system has large spans or innovative shapes need support structure, rather than conventional system, steel can really help in this case. In large number of infrastructural projects, railway systems, nodal hub, transit hub, Industrial units etc., steel construction is better and cost friendly rather than conventional system.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The strategy should be to have more trade shows, magazine publication etc. to create awareness surrounding the country.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
I have used in many projects, but the best among them are the two projects:

  • The Bengal rowing Club, Rabindra sarobor, Kolkata
  • Industry Building at Salap, Howrah, West Bengal

The Bengal rowing Club, Rabindra Sarobor, Kolkata

The brief of the project given was to create a signature element in this historic club that would make the pool side area much more attractive. The initial thought process was to make a form that response to the larger context which is an ecologically sensitive landscaped area of south Kolkata. This large mega public space has several clubs among which BRC being one of the most famous one. The characteristics of the project intended to have both an iconic as well as statement feature, and at the same time be sensitively amalgamated with the context.

The simplicity is what makes the project profound. The curved steel cantilever provides counterweight at either side beyond the column. The Vierendeel girder in form of a rectilinear box which is supported by six columns is independent to the curved canopy. Projects can be big or small, but a comprehensive set of issues were handled in these projects. Revitalization and conservation, façade development, sustainable design (Platinum rated green building certification was achieved by this club), iconic forms can be sensitive and responsive to the context. The project was truly an opportunity for our design practice to make a statement feature for both club as well as the city. The public space under the bird winged canopy increases the footfall for the members both old and young.

The tea blending facility on the national highway near Kolkata evokes an extraordinary contemporary character in an industrial design with hues of grey terracotta. Located in an industrial zone of Kolkata, MJIL represents the ultimate climatological considerations in design through its tilted windows toward south. The cross ventilation inside is enhanced through reversing the position of ventilators in south and north direction. The metal jaalis enhancing the Venturi’s effect on the southern façade of the offices located in front area of whole building are nicely reducing the air conditioning load required. Steel has been innovatively used to construct large span modular construction and the shaded canopy. The focus was driven toward climatic consideration such as ventilation and rain water harvesting systems.

Steel – A Sustainable Material

Steel can be reused and molded. It is strong and flexible in terms of sizes and shapes making its application more efficient in many industries including architecture. The various possibilities of the form, from steel components is another feature that makes the structure looks lighter and spaces looks interesting with the sleek-ness that come with this material, says, Ar. Kush Patel, Principal Architect, Raagin Karman

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel coming from a natural resource, makes it a sustainable material, and being a metal, can be re-used and molded. Apart from this, it is strong and flexible in terms of sizes and shapes making its application more efficient in many industries including architecture.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
The Joinery details in steel structure itself are very ornamental, and, adds to the aesthetics of the spatial experience! The various possibilities of the form, from steel components is another feature that makes the structure looks lighter and spaces looks interesting with sleek-ness that come with this material.

It also allows you to join various structural members in many ways including welding, nut and bolt and tensile. The innovation in nut-bolt joints also enables one to dismantle and transfer, which is the best flexibility that can be offered.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
As an architect, this is always a challenge for us. Since sometimes the sizes of sections/ grades available become the parameters to design. Also, at times due to unavailability of certain sizes of sections, it becomes a hindrance in consideration.

For example, if we require 400 mm diameter pipe, we need to wait until the manufacturer makes it on order or we need to import them; in that case also the thickness available maybe more than the requirement. So, we mostly prefer fabricated sections as per whatever codes we want to follow; or if the material is readily available, and, if it fits into our optimum requirement, only then we go for ready-made sections.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
This prediction is little difficult, but soon there will be more demand of movable living spaces, where people will want flexibility in moving their homes (one-time investment) to their desired city/ place! So, steel will play an important role in PEB house. Modularity is again sustainable methodology which can be achieved in steel.

Sometimes, the real estate planning goes for a toss, per say, the current situation demands to get rid of few non-functioning mall buildings. They are either deteriorating or are being demolished within few years of its existence and then the whole economics is affected. If it was made in steel, we still get an opportunity to re-use elsewhere or shift the entire structure to a place of demand. We see steel as a potential sustainable material for its re-usability attribute which according to us is most important aspect, while, designing mega-structures in current as well as future developments.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The strategy lies in built-examples and awareness amongst students or young practitioners. Introduction to the material with live/real examples would make one understand its potential to the core. Publications and theories are less effective in comparison to live demonstrations. When students/ young professionals visit the manufacturing facility oh the pre-engineered building components, it gives them better clarity and the confidence to use the material.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We are a Young studio and we practice from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Our projects mainly include Industrial Buildings, Exhibition Center, Institutions and Private Residences in both these cities. Most of our architectural large-scale projects are in steel. Following are few of the many Projects in Steel completed by us:
– Exhibition Center at Gandhinagar for Vibrant Gujarat
– Manufacturing Facility for Modular Furniture at Navi-Mumbai
– Manufacturing Facility for PEB components at Bhamasara (near Ahmedabad), Gujarat

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.

Steel Accentuates Digital Fabrication

Steel is a malleable material and you can work with it a lot, you can melt it, you can mould it into shapes and bend it in any form. Even though it is slightly expensive to procure, the time taken to construct something with steel is far lesser than the use traditional materials, therefore, making up for its cost. The interesting thing about steel is that it can be formed into different shapes which gives one endless possibility, states, Ar. Khushbu Davda & Seeja Sudhkaran, Founders, Studio Emergence,

 

Q What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
A The major roadblock in steel construction is costing. Talking about steel construction in a city like Mumbai where time is a major constraint, we use this to our benefit and we are able to convince the Developers to use steel for construction as it required much less time & effort to complete the project.

Not just the speed of construction but in terms of flexibility, onsite demands, onsite changes that occur, can be made easily in steel which otherwise is gruesome with RCC.

With RCC we know that certain cantilevers are possible, which are only conventional cantilevers and we can’t have huge RCC structures or fewer columns with RCC and all of which is possible with use of steel. These are some of the advantages of steel construction, therefore steel support systems are much better.

Q How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer an economical solution?
A The future of construction is going to be expensive because the material cost is only going to sore, while the resources remain limited. The use of technology has given us a new kind of building method such as 3D printing and Digital Fabrication which now we are using not only in construction in India but also in other industries such automobile, Jewellery etc.

If we successfully adapt this technology in the construction industry, we can design structures using the minimum amount of material and make it structurally stable, as they would be optimized to use the lower amount of material, which will be the future necessity as far as more expensive resources as concerned. We will be able to derive to projects that are futuristic in design, and will be aesthetically pleasing, and then we no longer have to rely on the limitation of the traditional building methodology.



Q What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?

A The section and grades that are provided are quite limited, so we believe that each project has its own demand, so usually they have to be to custom made.

But that is one of the good part about steel, we can get it custom made, digitally fabricate it into different variety of sections, and it doesn’t cost as much as any other traditional building method. If anything, the traditional method will cost more compared to the kind of flexibility that we get with steel.

Q What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
A It has more to do with digital fabrication methods. We are true believers that the industry is going to vouch for a digitally fabricated city. So, in this particular expectation, steel is a prime contender because Steel is a malleable material. You can work around it, with it in a lot of different ways. Our project ‘Urban Intervention’ at Prabhadevi, Dadar is one example of it. And we also believe that the trend is shifting in this direction for the next 5-7 years, most of the projects are going to be digitally fabricated. Everybody is going to have a 3D printer, everybody is going to create their own designs.

Q What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
A We don’t think we need any strategy as such because steel is going to be in demand, the rise in construction in Mumbai, especially for metropolitan cities where steel is used as a primary material. Use of steel saves one time and brings efficiency to the project. The other strategy is quite simple, people who are in the crux of making residential buildings, the problem here is when we architects go to a developer and talk to them about the efficiency of steel they are on-board to make a considerably a smaller project like a bungalow but when we talk about developing a residential building or commercial structure, they are reluctant to use steel as a construction material.

They would want to go with RCC, this is where we need to have awareness of use of steel as a construction material. So it will help strategize getting steel into the residential sector which is missing at the moment. We have done some high rise projects, and these days the building come up to 160 meters, which is 50 floors, and are still built with RCC. Even when the RCC consultants recommend steel over RCC, the developers still give a go-ahead on RCC construction. Which is a major issue.

Q Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
A As a studio we do versatile projects, we do infrastructure project, residential buildings, interior designs and product designing and we make use of digital fabrication method in our projects. One of such project would be the metro station design that will begin construction by 2019. We are co-winners for the Andheri Metro Station Design, which will be fabricated in steel.

We have done projects especially to create awareness about making Mumbai Walkable. For which we had collaborated with Sugee Group and in alliance with BMC. The project was to develop an entire footpath at Prabhadevi, Dadar. We wanted to make sure that it was not only visually appealing, but also less intrusive. It’s a wide footpath which was used to park two-wheelers and is a common site in Mumbai. To solve this problem, we’ve put loads of plantation in the design which was executed in steel. It also turned out to be less time consuming for the project timeline. We needed this kind of flexibility in the material use.

The design detailing that was developed for the site was not possible to be executed in cement, as there was constant form changes in the construction of the entire site which was mostly carried out by local labourers. It was an intriguing project for us. It took us about 30 days, to complete the entire footpath, since it is a public footpath we couldn’t keep it under construction for a long period of time and cause inconvenience to the people using the footpath regularly. Therefore using steel as a construction material made the process simpler and more efficient to execute. Steel innovation is the highlight of this project.

Steel Empowers Productivity

Steel is highly durable, malleable, light-weight and recyclable, one of the major advantage it offers, to me as an Architect, is its flexible capacity to be utilized for realization of highly complex forms with efficiency and economy, exclaims, Ar. Swapnil Gawande, Computational Design Expert & Architect, Studio_DRAAFT.

 

Q What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
A Steel has several advantages as compared to other conventional building materials. Besides, it being highly durable, malleable, light-weight and recyclable, one of the major advantage it offers, to me as an Architect, is its flexible capacity to be utilized for realization of highly complex forms with efficiency and economy.

Q How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
A One of the prudent ways in which this could be achieved is by employing digital / computational tool sets for aesthetic and structural design for optimization of various parameters within the design stage itself. Contemporary computational workflows allow Architects and Engineers to design, simulate and validate the morphology and execution trajectory of the project beforehand. Thus, conscious decisions could be made for every stage of the project and its management prior to it breaking grounds on site. These methodologies can definitely help in achieving equilibrium between aesthetics and economics.

Q What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
A The Renaissance and subsequently the Industrial Revolution paved way for the use of steel in the construction industry. Different standards were set over years of usage of steel as a material for construction. This standardization combined with mass production is one of the main reasons why steel, although being an extremely malleable material, is conditioned to specific orthogonal sections and grades. Technological upgradations that occur on a daily basis allow for mass- customization along with mass-production. Today, we are at a stage where the design doesn’t necessarily have to “fit-in” or forcefully accommodate the usage of standardized sections available in market. Companies like MX3D are using advanced robotic additive manufacturing technology to print large variety of metal alloys of any shape and size possible. If steel producers can also invest in providing customized solutions to designers, or preferably collaborate with them through their Research and Development teams then that would sync the demand and supply of creative endeavors in steel construction to a great extent.

Q What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
A At Studio_DRAAFT, we make a point to keep ourselves abreast about the emerging trends within the domain of Architecture, Engineering and Construction. We can suggest that within the next three-quarter of a decade designing structures with steel will gain more momentum in the interior, residential and commercial segment, as it has already proven its worth in the industrial and infrastructure segment.

Countries like India are formulating schemes and encouraging affordable housing initiatives for its vast urban population. Considering this, a significant number of contemporary Architects and Engineers have been advocating the use of steel for such residential and commercial structures’ requirements. This agenda will gradually be accepted by not only the new age builders and developers of the corporate sectors but also within the bureaucracy and government sector.

Q What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
A The industry should reach out to all the stake-holders, within the construction domain and vice-versa. There should be meaningful collaborations between new-age Architects, Researches, Engineers, Fabricators and Producers which can pave way for promoting the apt usage of structural steel construction in India.

Q Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
A. We, at Studio_DRAAFT, have been actively involved in the design and construction of radically different design typologies like Highway Infrastructure Designs, wherein we have designed and executed a good quantum of innovative Toll Plazas, heavy garages, steel-structures and allied facilities.

Although we approach all design briefs in a way that the resultants would be unique, but two of our recent projects have been very iconic within their contexts.

The first one is our most recent project of 2018 viz. the Toll Plaza Canopy structure for the Eastern Peripheral Expressway of Delhi.

This Toll Plaza was designed with an innovative structural approach wherein the entire ‘Canopy’ structure was conceived as one big ‘Shell’. This shell was primarily disseminated into three components viz., one central core functioning as the main administrative building and two large ‘wings’ on either side covering the toll booths and lanes. The façade of the elliptical-conic central core is predominantly a variably-triangulated exo-skeleton that takes the entire load of the main building and allows the complete structure to stand just on four main columns.

The curvaceous wings are subdivided into variable hyperbolic-paraboloids components which assure ease in load transfers. The top of the core pulls the wings using high strength tensile cables thus allowing for a panoramic column free space beneath the wings for smooth passage of traffic. The structure is predominantly a metal building with the wings covered in Tensile Fabric membrane. This strategic arrangement is very light-weight and allows the entire structure to counter-balance the loads and self-assemble itself. The central administrative building with elliptical floor plans is column less but consists of a secondary core that accommodates the vertical connectors like lift and staircase as well as all the allied building services. The structure stands 52 meters tall and 115 meters wide. This iconic structure manifests the newly acquired zeal, aggression and dynamism of our contemporary Indian society. Metaphorically, it could be compared to a Falcon – standing calm and confident, in its full glory, with its head up high, razor sharp vision and wings wide open, ready to embrace the new challenges and opportunities of emerging India.

The second iconic project that we are doing is “Re-development of Bharat-Ratna Maharshi Anna Karve Memorial on Karve Road, Pune” which primarily re-invigorates a compact urban node within a dense city. It consist of a parametrically generated canopy which is an output of rigorous computational experimentations done within the domain of Digital Architecture which is an avant-garde movement in current world trends of Architecture.

Hence, this design completely manifests the futuristic ideologies and vision set by Maharshi Anna Karve. The unique structure and design will exude an ambience that is un-matched in any urban setting within Pune city. It will certainly be a tourist attraction and help re-synergize its immediate surroundings booming the economy of the zone. Being an iconic structure of a Bharat-Ratna itself, it will help in re-defining and accentuating the identity of contemporary Pune city.

STEEL AUGMENTS DESIGNERS AMBITS

The key to a successful design is to find the ideal balance of its production feasibility , cost to the design. An increasing number of large scale structures such as public buildings and transportation hubs are being constructed using steel, making them usable ,fast, saving both money and time in the process, articulates, Ar. Anirban Bhaduri, Partner, INNATE Architects Planners & Engineers

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Its ability to overcome design limitations, put forward by conventional materials, and techniques. With the use of steel members, dimensions such as span, height and grandeur can be designed in an expanded scale. The whole concept evolves, once a designer decides to use steel instead of conventional materials. A much more experimentalized approach can be made and attained, resulting in realizations of such avant-garde concepts as Deconstruction and Parametricism in Architecture

The other major advantage of using steel is time-economy. Today, steel buildings are best known for diversity of their shapes their architectural expressiveness, which makes them more reliable than other types of structures. In addition, steel structures have high strength, hence, steel member can resist high load with comparatively light weight. With advent of newer quality of non corrosive Steel members ,gas and water tight , Its members can be readily replaced or are assembled increasing sanitary conditions, environment conservation, and flexibility.

Steel offers design flexibility- structures which are easy to install, and, is also cost effective and rarely fluctuates in price. Steel allows for improved quality of construction and less maintenance, while offering improved safety and resistance, high strength, ductility, choice of coatings are added advantages

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
For the more progressive nations, steel has been used consistently as exposed material, to finish a building for a long time. Most notable masterpieces, post Art Nouveau phase ,during Modernistic era, to expose the steel in built form, in a grand scale. Architects like Mies Van Der Rohe, Victor Horta and Henri Sauvage have made immeasurable contributions in architecture.

The key to a successful design is to find the ideal balance of its production to the design. An increasing number of large scale structures, such as public buildings and transportation hubs are being constructed using steel, making them usable, fast, saving both money and time in the process. Particularly well suited for the facades of buildings, steel is functional, practical, and long-lasting material with a universal aesthetic appeal.

The use of long span sections for buildings creates large, open and flexible spaces. Using steel columns instead of concrete ones could deliver additional floor area on floor plates. Steel can be used alongside conventional materials or individually. Dedicated member-sections can be used in modern buildings to add to the Identity and symbolism, few of the key points in any design sector.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The availability of steel members in various sections/grades only helps expand the horizon of a designer’s imagination. On the other hand, it is arguable that a designer’s imagination is only limited by the finite number of steel sections and grades available. While, it is true that the number of sections is huge and increasing every day and a greater number of design-specific sections, and, grades are welcomed, which would eventually lift the aforesaid limitation, making designs truly limitless.

As time progresses, the unbelievable number of grades lead to the use of steel, even stainless steel as a finishing material, compete with external grade specifications and weather-proofing.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
As designs and concepts of spaces evolve, we shall be witnessing the role of steel change, from its primary use as reinforcement to a more exposed form. To take the lead in defining the very Identity of the building that it helps stand. In conjunction with cutting edge software in designs, and use of unconventional materials, steel would be playing multiple roles in shaping the urban fabric. The comfortable humanistic scale would eventually expand, to entertain consumers and users with new experiences.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
As a designer, we feel the need for new material which are not just different in texture and feel, but also different in properties. The under-use of steel as an elevation and a building element, especially in our country, needs to be addressed so it can be used exclusively and not merely as a support. In such a scenario, we feel the need of more interaction between designers, architects and material industry, to understand the need exhibited and come up with more innovative and design-specific results.

Frankly, although the above scenario may be envisaged, the growth in this sector is exponential and the true nature of progress can only be felt after the stipulated time frame.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We would love to share our experience in design and execution of the project – “Sinclairs Retreat, Kalimong” in West Bengal.

We have chosen to use steel as a replacement for Framing of roof structure, to attain the desired result and help hold the design-Integrity of the building intact. It reflects the designer’s intent to exude vernacular design elements in an innovative manner, allowing users a unique experience.

The site at Kalimpong is one with evaded change of levels, with a 75m drop across a 5acre site. The entry into the site is through the top most level, which graduates into a ramp leading to the main reception, and hotel block with the intent that the welcome view of the hotel reception would be a dramatic surprise to the visitors, as one enters further into the site steps lead downward, and into more private spaces such as duple cottages, children’s park and niches and corners for private tẻtẻ-ằ-tẻtẻ.

Further, down the site a single cottage suits, the spa at further lower level is the ultimate lap of luxury within the resort with an infinity swimming pool overlooking the mighty mountains and the wilderness below. The existing rocky terrain and the gradient has been retained and fused with the landscape. The large spanned roof structures are designed in steel along with shingles as the basic roofing material. Steel has enormously helped us in negotiating with the design constraints and achieving our desired built envelope.

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