Design with Steel

Steel – Ensures Sustainability

Steel can be recycled, making it one of the most sustainable materials in the building industry. Hence, steel has a high economic value at all stages of its life cycle and can be routinely recovered and reused. As Steel Offers Immense Design Freedom, in texture, shape & size, usability, ease & time of construction. Its versatile combination of durability, strength, precision, malleability and sustainability gives architects the pedestal to explore ideas and develop innovative, flexible & economical solutions, states Ar. Aditya Goswami, Principal Architect, Architectonic Services…

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel has aesthetic appeal as the sections are smaller and sleeker, unlike other building materials. The Speed of Construction – Steel sections can be produced off-site at shop floors and then assembled onsite. The flexibility it offers is such that it can be molded into any desired shape. Structural steel is sustainable as it is one of the most recycled materials on Earth.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
STEEL OFFERS IMMENSE DESIGN FREEDOM in texture, shape & size, usability, ease & time of construction. Its versatile combination of durability, strength, precision, malleability and sustainability gives architects the pedestal to explore ideas and develop innovative, flexible & economical solutions.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Currently a vast variety of sections & grades are available, which help designers to pick and choose as per their requirements. It offers them freedom and encourages innovation.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel will form an essential ingredient in many developments which come to epitomize a sustainable future as Steel is essential for our infrastructure. Lightweight steel construction provides low energy, thermally responsive buildings which are more efficient to construct and easier to maintain with low running costs.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Steel can be recycled, making it one of the most sustainable materials in the building industry. Hence, steel has a high economic value at all stages of its life cycle and can be routinely recovered and reused. In today’s growing concern of depletion of natural resources and global warming, all are on the lookout for materials that will reduce footprint on Mother Earth yet meet all the demands of a growing population. Hence, in order to promote structural steel construction in India, one must emphasize on ‘Substantiality’.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
HALDIRAM’S THE NEST, KOLKATA INDIA – A confectionary major, dealing with Indian traditional food, with aspirations to roll out a signature retail chain, wished to have a symbolic cocoon.

As far as architectural aphorisms are concerned, the well-known phrase, “Less is more” seems to perfectly describe a modernist ethic. The elemental objective of the proposal was to design a sleek and elegant structure that turns heads amidst the monotonous concrete jungle of the surroundings, which would be possible exclusively by allowing a visual connectivity of the interior and exterior. In order to satisfy this objective as well, glass and steel were the only two materials that would do justice to such a vision. The structure was thereby proposed such that the boundaries seem to disappear, highlighting the glass-box cocooned-by-steel, with a vision of a permeable structure. The combination of the two materials, glass and steel, lends unparallel lightness and strength to the structure. The unique characteristic feature of steel encourages adventurous architecture and explores geometry through minimalism. Steel frames reduce the material expression to the indispensable and is best known for its clarity and accuracy. The combination of the steel members exhibits the structure as a wholesome unit holding the glass box cocooned within. Set in a street corner, the building is thus enveloped by a kind of veil which reveals and at the same time transforms the perception of what lies behind it.

Steel Pecuniary Material

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel has high tensile strength, so even if the span is longer, the beam sections are smaller comparatively. Steel can be mass produced and fabricated before site is ready for construction so in turn saves a lot of time. The major advantages of steel construction would be time, ductility and span of buildings which can be achieved only with steel construction technology.

Steel is highly durable and can withstand lateral loads better than conventional materials, during earthquakes or thunderstorm steel buildings are safer. As architects steel allows us to create adaptable spaces. Steel Buildings are economical than conventional, and they have resale value as they could be recycled.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Architects prefer to expose steel structures which add character to the building, makes it light. It clearly defines the program of the building. With steel coating and galvanizing, a lot of visual effects can be achieved in various sections.

Steel can be customized to any form and nonlinear elements, which makes it highly versatile to be used by architects and structural engineer for complex forms. We have been using exposed structural steel elements in our designs which adds detail to the façade, they are often complemented with artificial light to embrace their character.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
When we compare to US steel construction industry to our Indian producers, we have less range and quality, we only have standard sections in the market, when the form of the building is a bit complex. It usually becomes a time taking process to fabricate and transport and the standard sections available are of different quality, the economical variant is highly susceptible to fire and very fragile to cracks.

We are on the upward side, evolving with different grades and sections to suit the demand of the dynamic construction industry.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
The government, industry and institutions have already started to spread awareness. Already, in 2020 there are many projects like hospitals, residences, hostel, hotels proposed in steel. This itself is evident to see a paradigm shift from conventional design to steel construction. Manpower shortage and accuracy is a major concern the conventional construction has, steel construction would address those issues.

By incorporating technology, steel fabrication, cuts down wastage and cost. A lot of clients request green building construction, by the paradigm shift towards steel construction, we would be saving a lot of carbon emissions, and many PEB fabricators should focus on producing high performative steel elements like skylights. High level precision achieved through steel construction is one of the most valuable outcomes of steel constructions which helps in steering the growth in the next five years.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Fabricators should focus on manufacturing with less carbon emissions making it eco-friendly and taking care of the environment. Industries should focus on making it more fire resistant, making it more economical.

Availability of different grades and variants for end clients Focus on delivering on time to complete the project on schedule which most of the PEB fabricators never meet. Promoting steel buildings to developers and spreading awareness among common people about its benefits and conducting conference, exhibitions and competitions would be helpful.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
In this Bionica hospital design, at Kolkata we have tried to promote the use of steel in buildings and spread awareness among architects and designers. We have extensively designed the entire building with steel including the façade which is made of steel plates and exposed the structural system to the exterior. In the hospital, we have tried to achieve floor spaces without column or beam by inversing the load from the floor plates to the roof and then transferred to the central core. high tension cables used to hold

The façade made from steel plates are coated with Titanium dioxide which will in-turn absorb the pollution the facades allow in diffused sunlight and direct the wind to ventilate the inner courtyards. Using steel as main construction helps in predicting the cost and timeline of the project accurately. All the hospital rooms open out to the Courtyards at each floor level which have huge green natural vegetation. This steel structure creates a unique landmark to the whole city.

Steel Enhances Design Aesthetics

Structural steel can be used innovatively to provide design aesthetics and economical alternatives. Like Pergola, an aesthetic part of building, or portico, or several aesthetic facia constructions can be done using steel structure. In which the construction time required is less as it can be welded, joined in pieces as per aesthetical requirement easily with less manpower. The trend of increasing high rise buildings will certainly increase the demand of steel sections for shoring. Again, the same will be required born beautification work as well, says,
Anjan Kumar Dutta, Principal Architect, A. K Dutta & Associates.

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?

The major advantages of using steel to other conventional materials are:

  • Reduction of construction time when other conventional material takes enough time to complete the job. RCC and others take time for curing, mixing transportation, shuttering etc.
  • When time reduces the return on loan if any can be reduced.
  • For composite structure, can attribute better in tension, for even steel structure, the matter is same.

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 used innovatively to provide design aesthetics and economical alternative. Like Pergola, an aesthetic part of building, or portico, or several aesthetic facia constructions can be done using steel structure. Where the construction time required is less and can be welded, joined in pieces as per aesthetical requirement easily with less manpower.

Whereas, the conventional material requires skilled labour to prepare form work, then casting, then waiting for curative time, then dismantling of shuttering, plastering etc to finish the job. This requires more cost to finish job in comparison to steel structures.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Yes, several varieties of sections/grades available in the market, hence utilisation of steel increased with increase in ample number of sections, and, grades or you can say options to provide member as per aesthetical demand or demand from structural strength point of view.

I do personally believe that steel producers should produce steel with more varieties and grades to provide designer more options to choose member as per need.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
As per my opinion, for next 5-7 years the use of steel will increase tremendously. Specially, a major part will be used in composite sections and aesthetical components. As usual industrial structures require a lot of steel… The trend of increasing high rise buildings will certainly increase the demand of steel sections for shoring. Again, the same will be required born beautification work as well.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
As per my opinion, being the core technical issue, the producers of steel should interact directly or through their business development partners with the consultants, such that consultants are able to understand the issues and can convince their clients. Secondly, the producers should arrange technical sessions to spread the required issues to the target audience.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
I have designed, several steel structures, some among them are, Lalbaba Seamless Tubes Pvt Ltd, Dumdum Valves and Bearings Pvt Ltd, Maracia Industries Ltd, Chengalpet, Chennai, Apeejay logistic Park, Kalinganagar, Orissa, Ballabhgarh and Haryana, Aditi Oil limited , Gourica Auto India Ltd, Fire Skin wall for 22m, 24m and 26m dia Oil Tank of BPCL, Pragati Rice Mill, Majumder Agro Industries Pvt Ltd, Kheria Autocomp Pvt Ltd, Sanand, Gujrat etc.

This is a seamless tube factory situated in Haldia. Construction area covering production, office, utility approximately 275000 sq. ft or two lakhs seventy-five thousand sq. ft approximately. It is the steel structure covering roof and vertical side wall of height 40 ft at eves level with galvalume sheet with proper fixing. As far as the roof is concerned, we have introduced transparent polycarbonate sheets for maximum utilisation of sunlight during daytime. For creating healthy internal working environment of the factory, we have introduced mechanical ventilation system with exhaust and all. Again, the frames are designed to withstand the loads of 2 nos 5 t eot cranes in each bay. For better maintenance aspect we have introduced spray paint and proper coating to the steel structures to withstand the environmental salt effect as the structure is close to seashore.

Steel Enhances Productivity

Structures are easy to erect as members can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. This makes structural steel one of the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88 per cent recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing thus creating minimal raw material wastes. The steel industry continues to innovate for both the material and the use of structural steel, says, Samir Rastogi & Vineet Khanna, Partners, Space Ace Architects & Planners

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel is a highly durable metal. Steel structures have a good load carrying capacity and a high strength to weight ratio. This makes steel much lighter when compared to other building materials and provides it with the ability to withstand external pressures such as earthquakes and thunderstorms.

Another very desirable quality of steel is its versatility. It can be rolled, cut and turned into a variety of sizes and shapes without changing its composition or physical property. Offsite fabrication does marvels for the architecture industry as it allows the project architect a greater degree of expression and creativity in their design than most other construction materials. Steel is therefore often exposed in the design of structures to emphasize grace, slenderness, strength and transparency of frame. Steel also enhances construction productivity. Structures are easy to erect as members can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. This makes structural steel one of the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88 per cent recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing thus creating minimal raw material wastes. The steel industry continues to innovate for both the material and the use of structural steel.

How can structural steel be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Structural steel allows the designers a greater degree of expression and creativity in their design due to its easy fabrication. Structural steel sections can modify to create non-linear members to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure. No other framing material comes close to when it comes to innovativeness, freedom of expression and design creativity. It provides for an opportunity for column-free, large span structures with the prospect of natural lighting.

In comparison, structural steel enhances the value of a project in terms of construction productivity, initial cost as well as reduces costs in other areas such as transportation, foundations, general conditions, and facade systems. Workmanship in steel is very easy and the methodology can easily be transferred to a skilled fabricator for any artistic development through sampling, training and reproduction. 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. An existing steel frame can also be easily modified to address changing building requirements and uses. 

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Today in India we are very creative with how we build and construct steel. Each steel shape has its unique structure in addition to ways that they are utilized. These shapes serve as tools to help us to construct anything anywhere. There is a full variety of shapes to choose from depending on the need.

For example, the tee beam is best utilized as a load-bearing beam. It has a T-shaped cross section, which allows for large loads to be carried appropriately. The bearing piles (H-Shaped) are designed to create a deep foundation system. L-Shaped angel beams are best utilized in floor systems with building foundations because their L shape provides great stability. I-Beams allow for perfect bending capabilities when necessary. Steel profiles come in a variety of shapes. Hollow Steel Section beams can be circular, rectangular, square, or elliptical. With the diverse options in shapes, this allows for builders to use HSS beams for projects that require loading in a variety of directions. These sections can also be combined easily by welding to form new composite sections. Construction professionals and engineers strive to make sure they are always finding the best possible methods to use.

What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing with steel is concerned?
Steel construction is becoming more and more popular in India today. Steel is mostly being used for structures such as bridges and airports but slowly people are realising its potential. Over the next few years, with rapid urbanisation, steel structures should hopefully become more widespread. The many advantages of steel structures enable us to be able to build vertically and achieve greater heights and at the same time horizontally achieving greater spans. Steel construction is also much faster, which is a big necessity for our growing population. It is also less polluting due to its prefabrication and fast assembly.

Steel will always remain an evolving material from mega structures to the welder in your colony. New machinery and new tools will further improve the expression and quality of steel fabrication. Whether it be for enormity in high-rises or compactness in modular units, steel construction is an eco-friendly step that needs to be taken.

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.