Design with Steel

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.

Steel Bespeaks Mightiness

The high tensile strength of steel helps in countering, the unwanted pressure created on the structure during earthquakes. Being a little flexible, steel does not crack as opposed to the brittle nature of concrete under such circumstances. Apart from this, structures constructed in steel are much lighter than those constructed in concrete. In steel structures, the savings in terms of time is also very crucial in steel buildings pronounces
Ar. L.A. Murthy & Ar. Amit Murao, Partners, Aashray Design Consultants.

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel, as a building material, has numerous advantages over its disadvantages, when compared to other conventional building materials. With, a major portion of India, falling under the high earthquake prone belt, steel is the solution to counter the effects of earthquake. The high tensile strength of steel helps in countering, the unwanted pressure created on the structure during earthquakes. Moreover, being a little flexible, steel will not crack as opposed to the brittle nature of concrete under such circumstances.

Another, great advantage of steel buildings is its fast-paced nature of construction. Almost, all the components of a steel building can be fabricated off site, in factories. Moreover, faults in the structure caused due to irregularities in building materials like sand, bricks etc. can be minimized. Moreover, the spans we can achieve in steel structures are huge as compared to RCC structures.

Not only can we design huge column-free spaces, but the overall height of the structure can also be considerably increased. This gives us huge volumes of spaces when we design using steel. Thus, steel has its advantages over the conventional materials, but the awareness amongst our future designers and clients is very important. With appropriate knowledge about steel construction, we can make India a very rapidly developing country.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Structures made in steel are considerably lighter than those constructed in concrete. This is mainly because of the elimination of concrete which is the major bulk of a structure in an RCC building. Lighter superstructure would in-turn, mean lighter design for foundation. This would reduce the overall cost of the structure. Moreover, the savings in terms of time is also very crucial in steel buildings.

Steel is also used for the construction of sky-scrappers. These high-rise buildings have a great dead load of the structure. The light weight nature of steel plays a very important role in the designing of these structures. Being extremely versatile, steel can be used to make very creative designs. With, the new trends in design, and, the taste that we are developing towards raw and rugged looks and minimalistic designs, steel can be the ultimate solution.

The metallic and rustic look of steel inherently provides us with the look many are trying to achieve in their buildings. Thus, steel is not only an economical solution in the building industry but can also be the aesthetic element which brings the redefined edge in the design.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
With the rising use of steel for construction, the supply for the same has also been matched at equal pace by the steel producers. Various steel sections, of different sizes and strengths are now available in the market. C-channels, I-sections, T-Beams, Z purlins, strut channel; we name it, and it is available to us. The imagination of an architect, or, a designer has very well been realized, because of the support from the manufacturers. And if at all there is something which is not available to us, the ease of working with steel is such that it takes no time for us to get special sections fabricated.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel buildings in India has seen a great surge in the recent years. A, great number of industries have come up in India in the past couple of decades, and, they have majorly been constructed in steel. The influence of industrial design has started to leave a mark on buildings of other genres as well. Various commercial buildings and interior designs are picking up components of industrial design like exposed steel columns, industrial lights, exposed electrical wirings etc. With, the taste of people developing in industrial design, those days are not far away when we would be seeing its traces in residential, institutional and commercial projects as well. In the coming days, we would see a lot of steel structures. The awareness that is being spread in the construction industry regarding the advantages and ease of steel building construction and the availability of steel in the market will see a boost in this sector.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
As architects and designers, we always look to provide our clients, the best possible solution with minimum economic implications. Being in the industry for the past 27 years, we have become well versed with the pros and cons of the use of structural steel for construction. The most important thing for us as designers, to do is to spread awareness amongst the people in general regarding steel. We need to take the lead and hold talks, conferences, and discussions to explain to our clients the virtues of a steel building.
Even, after seeing such vast developments in the field of steel buildings, some clients are still reluctant when we come up with the proposal for a multi-storied steel building, instead, of an RCC building. Not only do the people in general need to know about steel buildings but our budding designers need to understand its importance too. The future generation of architects need to know about the future of construction material. The media, like your publication house, can also play a very important role in spreading awareness about steel buildings

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
Over the years of our practice, we have done huge projects completely in steel. In 2011, we were given the opportunity to design the biggest railway wagon manufacturing unit in the country in Jabalpur by CEBBCO. Built on a site spanning 75 acres, the building was developed on a steel-centric design. With 5.6 lakh sqft of builtup area, the building used around 2000 tonnes of steel.

Designed to give the look of railway coaches parked at a platform, the building very rapidly became a landmark. Looking in the recent past, we completed a warehouse and cold storage project on 7 acres of land for the logistics giants Transport Corporation of India. The structure is a combination of PEB and RCC structure, with the warehouse and cold storage built in steel structures and the admin block and training facility built in RCC. 345 MPA I-sections have been used in the warehouse. The warehouse is built with a massive 810 tonnes of steel.

Currently, we are developing a colossal 81M by 196M fully automated warehouse for Jindal South-West (JSW) along with Think Link, the Turnkey Integrator of the project.The storage system in the warehouse is based on the concept of Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). A total of 1400 metric tonnes of steel is being used in the project. The entire structure, which has been designed in 345 grade steel, has a very sleek PEB concept.

The manufacturing unit for Sandhar Industries, Hosur, is a project which was completely designed and conceived in steel. The complete unit is built in PEB structure. Even the admin block is integrated in steel structure. The proposal for the upcoming manufacturing unit of Mundhra chemicals, which is still in its design development stage, is in complete steel structure. The mezzanine floors of the factory are being proposed in metal decking to completely eliminate the use of RCC.

While, making our contributions in the field of steel buildings, we constantly try to strive forward and make more and more people aware about the advantages of steel as a building material!

Steel Empowers Multifarious Leeway

 

For steel to become a more used material in India, the structural design thinking from the professionals has to evolve at a faster pace than it is presently, as does the architectural design thinking. However, it is equally important for the construction methodology and training of the workmen to keep a steady pace with the design developments. As the steel industry has grown considerably because of the extensive use of steel in the industrial sector, it is just a matter of time before these developments start to infiltrate the commercial and residential design space, says,
Ar. Martand Khosla, Partner, Romi Khosla Design Studios

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Every material has its pros and cons, and as such these material properties, should define their application. Steel like several others has its own advantages and disadvantages, however in India often inappropriate materials are used in construction instead of the appropriate ones, there is a great deal of use of concrete in our construction industry, and as a result, steel is highly underutilized as a building material.

Its advantages lie in its short construction cycle, its inherent strength that allows for lighter structures and longer spans. Steel behaves well under compression and tension and as such is extremely versatile for tall buildings and large spans. And of course at the end of life of steel building, most of the cost of steel is recovered from recycling, making it an extremely environmentally friendly material.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
So, far the architectural language of steel has not been adequately explored in India, as it has in some other parts of the world. Early steel buildings expressed the steel junctions in cast iron details and decorative motifs, and in the early part of the 20th century, steel structures were expressed as in the column detail in the Barcelona pavilion and towards the 1970’s a new expression of steel emerged with buildings like the Pompidou Centre where an engineering aesthetic merged with an architectural design intent.

So in an extremely compressed history of over a century, I am trying to demonstrate how steel has evolved as a material and architectural language. This evolutionary journey is still, at its very early stages of development in India, but I am certain it will evolve rapidly as it did in China and South East Asia where the material has been appropriated and made culturally relevant.

For steel to become a more used material in India, the structural design thinking from the professionals has to evolve at a faster pace than it is presently, as does the architectural design thinking. However, it is equally important for the construction methodology and training of the workmen to keep a steady pace with the design developments. As the steel industry has grown considerably because of the extensive use of steel in the industrial sector, it is just a matter of time before these developments start to infiltrate the commercial and residential design space.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
As the steel industry will evolve, so will the technical specifications, components and design opportunities. If we can’t find particular sections, we fabricate them, and as such there is a great joy in designing from scratch without being limited to market availability. One of the great design opportunities in India, is the availability of relatively low labor costs. This allows for architects and engineers to be able to develop sections and details that are not necessarily straight of the shelf, but provide bespoke design solutions to each building.

When we were working on the Volvo- Eicher headquarters, we used all the steel that was available in India, except the decking sheets for which we had to go outside the country. We were unable to find the correct grade of steel and profile for this. This was understandable as there is very limited use of these sheets, however, it would be good to see them available in the future.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
I wish I could tell the future, but if I was to hazard a guess, I would like to see greater expression and use of steel within the non-industrial buildings, from housing and commercial to institutional buildings. I also look forward to more innovate structural design solutions for steel from the structural design community, and I look forward to more engagement of the steel industry with the architectural design community to help create interesting architecture throughout the country.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Let all the members of the industry mandate making all their own corporate, institutional and personal buildings in steel for a start! No better way to demonstrate its virtues than by using it extensively and exclusively for themselves. This of course has to go hand in hand with the development of the structural engineering industry, and the architectural community.

We as the architectural community would be very glad to interact with the steel industry, however, so far, we have had limited interactions. I think that the steel industry would also benefit from not only looking at scale of construction and the time cycle as the only criteria for promoting steel. It is important for the industry to dedicate a small part of their resources to look at how steel can be integrated within the architectural language of India. For this, there has to be greater outreach to the architectural and engineering fraternity.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
I have always wanted to work with steel, and when I was a student in 3rd year of college, I designed my first building, which was a holiday home for my parents in the mountains. The entire building was a steel building (where the walls were made of stone and sundried mud bricks). Subsequently, after I started RKDS (Romi Khosla Design Studios) with my father, my first building, the Castro Cafeteria was also a steel building. Subsequently we built some composite steel structures like the Goel house in Delhi and more recently the corporate headquarter for Volvo-Eicher in Gurgaon was a completely dry construction in steel with a LEED platinum rating. We, in the studio continue to look for opportunities to design in steel.

Steel Powers Adaptability

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à- vis conventional materials?
One of the major advantage with steel is that the columns can be manufactured for multiple floors tier. Correspondingly, the requirement for bolted floor to floor column junctions reduces considerably. But in conventional RCC structure we are bound with floor by floor casting. With steel structure, we can connect beams for multiple floors at the same time hence enhancing the erection speed. RCC encasing happens alongside as parallel exercise. The formwork for RCC beams gets eliminated entirely and the only formwork exercise left is for the encasing of the steel columns. The metal formwork for the column encasing can be planned for multiple repetitions.

The RCC columns sizes for 150m high Tower, can be assumed to be enormously large. The major benefit with steel column is the considerable reduction in the column sizes, achieving better efficiency in the space planning. RCC structure has a limitation of spans whether it’s a flat slab system of beam frame. But with high yield steel, the spans of more than 10m can be explored and achieved with the limited beam depths. Eventually we took the advantage of larger spans in the basements for efficient parking with lesser number of columns.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
As far as stability and deflection of steel structure is concerned, bracing plays a very important key role. After coordination with the structural consultant, we were able to achieve a unique bracing pattern which enhanced aesthetics of the Tower. We used partially exposed bracing as a facade feature as well, evident in the building elevations. Steel structure has a tendency to adapt to the design and aesthetic requirements, hence there are lots of creative ways to explore steel and the design can evolve accordingly.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The production of a particular grade and size of steel, are not a major hurdle as the steel manufacturers are coming up with high yield steel grades. Better the grade, lighter the structure. The flanges are unbelievably thinner as compared to the conventional steel grades. Our steel industry has evolved manifolds and real estate stakeholders and developers are emerging to take advantage of the revolution.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel as structural system is emerging to play a very major role in reviving the real estate industry. We are presently stuck with the conventional RCC system in which the time consumption is enormous. The real estate market is getting setbacks year by year, due to delayed construction. Investors are loosing faith and this is very much evident in today’s scenario. It’s high time to adapt faster construction system, as it’s the need of the time. In commercial projects, lots of developers have switched to pre-engineered building, system but we still need to address the adaptability of the same for mass housing projects.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
The only strategy which will work in present scenario is by increasing the awareness of advantages of steel construction amongst the real estate players, developers, architects, engineers etc. Secondly, the steel manufacturer must work towards bringing down the cost involved in the fabricated steel members and rolled steel members, so as to make it more viable and adaptive.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
As an Architect Urban Designer, my ongoing journey through FESTIVAL CITY project has been a wonderful experience. Many factors have contributed towards the exclusivity of this under – construction IT Complex, spanning across 25 Acre site, on Noida Expressway. First and the foremost being the first of its kind high rise ‘ Pre Engineered Building’.

The idea behind the adoption of Steel Building Structure, was primarily to make the 150m high rise structure, lighter in weight so as to avoid excessive expenditure on the piling; and over that gaining the advantage of escalation in the pace of erection, as compared to the conventional RCC Structure. In Real Estate Sector, Time is Money, and my understanding on this has been that our Industry must adopt faster construction methods, especially Pre Engineered Building System, so as to revive the Real Estate Market.

The high yield structural steel, which has been produced for the very first time for this Tower, has given us the flexibility to explore spans within the range of 10.5m, which would not have been possible with RCC structure. The Credit for such a futuristic decision on the adoption of PEB structural system goes entirely to Mr. Satinder Singh Bhasin (Bhasin Group), whose vision will be an inspiration for the times to come.

Steel Augments Aesthetics

Steel is a preferred material for the construction of large scale structures as well as large span structures such as bridges, industrial buildings and even residential buildings because of the unique properties of steel as well as advances in the steel design as a construction material as against other conventional materials. Steel structures have very good tensile strength, and, it has a high strength to weight ratio. This helps us to achieve visually slender sections which can be a decisive factor for design aesthetics,
says, Ar. Sharada Seshadri, Co-Founder, Architecture Continuous…

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel is a preferred material for the construction of large scale structures as well as large span structures such as bridges, industrial buildings and even residential buildings because of the unique properties of steel as well as advances in the steel design as a construction material as against other conventional materials. The unique properties of steel construction system offer many advantages which have been compiled below:

Tensile Strength
Steel structures have very good tensile strength and it has a high strength to weight ratio. Steel structures have a good load carrying capacity unlike concrete structures, which have a low load carrying capacity.

Foundation
Steel structures can be made without a foundation, but this is not applicable to concrete structures as they are heavy.

Large Spans
Its ideal for Structures that require large column free spans.

Construction Time
The construction process is faster with steel structures as they are easy to erect. This contributes to faster project completion.

Versatility
They are so versatile that they can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. Another advantage of steel structures is that they can be constructed off-site by professional steel fabricators and then assembled on site. Steel structures can be easily fabricated, and mass produced.

Transportation
Steel structures are easy to transport as they are lightweight.

Recyclability
In today’s context of serious concerns over waste management, having a good scrap value also makes structural steel a better option than concrete which has practically no scrap value. They are easily recyclable, and this increases its life cycle quotient.

Seismic performance
In the context of an earthquake, Concrete structures tend to be brittle compared to steel and can withstand a considerable amount of external pressure. Steel structures are generally less susceptible to structural failure due to the ductile nature of steel and they’re ability to dissipate energy. However weak links like poorly designed braced/moment frames, connections, or soft story behavior with slender columns, can all compromise a steel building.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Steel structures have very good tensile strength, and, it has a high strength to weight ratio. They weigh 60 per cent lesser, than concrete making the construction light. This helps us to achieve visually slender sections which can be a decisive factor for design aesthetics. Steel structural systems allows us to explore and generate innovative designs for large span truss, cantilevered truss, Staircases, Bridges, gates etc. Since we are also involved in interior projects, we love to use steel as a primary element to design furniture such as cots, chairs, tables, and TV and crockery units etc. to generate amazing results at a reasonable cost.

Sometimes the visual drama can be accentuated in any space by appropriate design of steel pergolas and skylights which create a magical dance of light and shadow in the indoors; experience of awe and wonder can be created by large span floating structures to small scaled floating tables, beds and furniture. We believe that some of these psychological experiences are priceless.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
We, are quite happy with the current palette of steel sections that are available in the market and try to creatively incorporate them in our designs after it’s corroborated by our team of structural engineers. We work extensively with rectangular HSS for trusses and round HSS for columns. As far as furniture design is concerned, in addition to rectangular sections we also work with flats to generate interesting products.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
According to the industry experts, structural steel construction industry has not yet achieved its full potential and is expected to grow in coming years because of adaptation of newer technologies in the construction industry. It is believed, that many initiatives and reforms taken up by the central government have revived the growth in Infrastructure sector. The Make in India campaign, development of 100 Smart Cities, Mass Housing, etc. is intended to give a boost to the economic growth and mainly infrastructure development and construction industry as well.

Steel construction was associated with industrial buildings, till recently in India; with the rising economy, new buildings whether residential, commercial, retail, hospitality or IT parks are all changing in terms of construction and façade treatment and visual experience which is driving the demand for steel structures. For example, top down construction technique using steel composite structural systems have been used in fast track projects to complete high rise buildings in short time spans in IT buildings such as Intel building in Belandoor, Bangalore. Such trends have opened doors for greater and better possibilities as far as designing structures with steel is concerned.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
According to various reports, construction industry accounts for more than 66 per cent of total steel consumption and in advanced countries more than 2/3rd of the buildings are made in steel. In India, our industries pundits believe that structural steel construction industry is not growing to its optimum potential due to lack of awareness vis-à-vis conventional building materials. Sometimes the cost of construction may be another important prohibiting factor for its wide spread usage. Structural Steel construction systems offer many advantages as it is faster, environmental friendly, earthquake resistant, lesser maintenance; provide higher column free space, high resale value, green benefits, dry construction, saving of natural resources, etc.

Citing all these advantages, industry can seek some kind of policy push from the government and local bodies. Awareness workshops, responsive campaigns and online as well as print publications are various platforms that can make a considerable difference to create awareness among the construction professionals. The government initiatives along with enterprising construction professionals and other private players can help in promoting steel as construction material for speedy implementation of the projects and avoid cost overruns and project delays. Most notably, adapting new innovative methods across design, fabrication & construction will also help in long term growth.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
We have worked with steel structural trusses specifically when the design demanded large column free spans. Reunion Mall in UP commissioned by Hindalco Industries houses a mini-theatre with 13 m span. This facility has become a major attraction not only for the Hindalco employees and their families but for the nearby communities. It has a composite structural system with RCC columns and structural steel truss.

Right 0’, a Food court on Bangalore-Mysore highway is one-of-its-kind project where we could achieve column free large spans at a reasonable cost. The client brief demanded minimal yet vibrant interiors, hence an innovative design was generated and interestingly the structural truss was integrated with the interior décor. Also. North light which was a part of the structural truss brings in tremendous amount of daylight which creates an exuberating experience for the visitors. The column free large spans also helped us in the design of a unique façade which is an organic white seamless skin wall that wraps the various programmatic requirements.

We have also designed, and, integrated a steel bridge 3m wide and 5m span connecting 2 blocks when we were involved as architectural consultants for Adithya Birla Public School, Harihar. Currently, we are designing a Yoga School for Art of Living, Bangalore which is a composite construction with rammed earth walls and 65 feet span truss.

Steel Proffers Flexibility

Steel offers solution in terms of creating large, column-free interiors, thereby giving the building a sense of openness, and moreover, it is malleable, hence gives architects the freedom to explore creating unconventional shapes and textures to make the building distinct, declaims,
Architect Rakesh Kapoor, Founder, Kapoor & Associates…

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
These days steel is being used in almost any type of structure – be it skyscrapers or bridges or contemporary houses. It has become a predominant material in the construction industry as it provides us with the freedom to develop fresh structural solutions. The distinctive qualities of steel products (e.g. structural beams, pipes, tread plates, flat bars and heavy angles) like adaptability, beauty, cost-effectivity, durability and ductility, make it the material of choice over concrete for many architects and engineers.

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 adjusted or changed according to requirements e.g. wall frames can be repositioned or altered easily to widen the space or create a new interior layout. This ability to adapt to changes allows for easier expansions, while extending the lifespan of the structure. Steel also offers a solution in terms of creating large, column-free interiors, thereby, giving the building a sense of openness. It’s malleable, and hence, gives architects the freedom to explore creating unconventional shapes and textures in order to make the building distinct.

In terms of cost, steel is light-weight which makes it easier to transport. As compared to concrete, steel structures are easy to erect making the construction process faster. They can be easily fabricated, and mass produced. They are versatile and can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced and can be modified even for last minute changes. Aside from this, steel is energy efficient and can be recycled without downgrading its quality, creating minimal raw material wastes.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Steel is slowly gaining popularity as a construction material in India. However, when we compare with the range of steel products available in the international markets, India still has a long way to go. During our ‘Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum’ project in Amritsar, we required a rust proof weather resistant steel grade for the construction of a 45m high steel sword. However, the grades available in India were limited and had constraints in fabrication. As a result, we had to settle with lower grade of steel. Indian steel producers need to push the envelope to make products which will help cater the demand for unconventional structures.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
Steel is lighter, faster to erect, competitively priced, sustainable and provides great flexibility for designers. With all the benefits steel affords, engineers and developers are increasingly turning to it as a practical and inexpensive solution for all their design needs. Due to the emerging era of tech and building information modeling, integrating the design and fabrication of steel will result in faster construction times and lower labour costs – two key components affecting the financial viability of a site.

Apart from this, the steel industry has already begun adopting novel steel modular frame systems for use on construction sites. Ultimately, steel is well-suited for modular construction, which will become more common as building information modeling, spurred by new technology, advances. Together, these elements strengthen the argument for the use of structural steel in meeting the design demands of the built environment – now and into the future.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
Many countries have started to opt for steel structures due to its qualities. India too is seeing a rise in experimental, contemporary architecture which can only be realized by using steel construction. Another aspect is the predicted exponential rise in ‘affordable housing’ in India. In this scenario, steel could be a probable solution in terms of prefabricated structures, leading to fast and cost effective modular construction.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
Some prominent steel specific buildings that we have worked on include the Punjab State War Heroes Memorial, Amritsar, Thayagaraj Sports Complex, New Delhi, Dasrath Deb Sports Complex, Agartala, LBSNAA Sports Complex, Mussoorie and DAV University Building, Jalandhar.

The Thyagaraj Sports Complex, India’s first eco-friendly stadium, was the venue for Netball Competition and Athletics Training for the Delhi 2010 Common Wealth Games. Structural steel framing was used to obtain large, clear spaces. Apart from this, additional seating capacity, future expandability, sustainable construction, low maintenance costs, amenities, enhancements for patron comfort, security and aesthetics became reasons to choose structural steel as the material of choice. The external façade of the stadium building is frameless structural double glazing This also allows sunlight to enter inside and saves the need of artificial lighting during day time.

For easy uniform distribution of truss reaction to the RCC columns, RCC column heads were provided of size 2400×2400 (in Plan). The 25mm thick stainless-steel plates were provided over the capital, one fixed to the RCC column head and the other to the truss with proper fixing arrangements. Supports on one end of truss (on two RCC column heads) were fixed and other end (two columns) was with horizontal sliding arrangements. The complex is one of the greenest sporting arenas in the world. It has been awarded the IBC Trophy for Excellence in Built Environment, the CPWD Award for Excellence: First Prize in Sports category.

Pre-Engineered Technology a Boon

Prashant Deshmukh
Principal Architect, Prashant Deshmukh and Associates…

 

What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel has many advantages over conventional materials. It offers flexibility to the designer for taking desired forms and spans. The pre-engineered technology offers quick solution to any design problems, and simulation of the behavior of the building can also be studied to take care of various forces and deflections to and of the structure. The dimensional benefit is to an advantage of savings on space offering more utility space.

It is an effective material to withstand seismic conditions with a proper frame design, not really bulging in size and shapes as other conventional materials to withstand seismic conditions. The pre-engineered technique offers easy technique to dismantle and reuse the building at a new location. The joints and junctions can easily be designed and fabricated, either, in the workshop or at site at ease, and can be designed for a reverse.

How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
The structural steel technology is now advanced enough to take challenges of architectural requirements in terms of aesthetics, longer spans, greater heights and can be molded in any shape and size with structural elements suiting to the requirements and design to suit sections that can be evolved out of steel plates offering economy. Aesthetic elements such as windows, curtain walls and structural glazing can easily be synchronized with basic structural work without much special provisions as in other conventional systems, thus, offering economy.

What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
The steel industry has transformed from ready sections like I, L, T etc. to built-up sections which are being fabricated as per design requirements from high tensile strength steel plates. Thus, offering effective solutions to the creative design leading to economy as well. The producers are manufacturing steel particularly for the building industry of the grades that are specified by the codes for pre-engineered or similar type of buildings. This is giving a great advantage to the designers in venturing for larger cantilevers, larger spans, larger shapes and the frames are becoming more and more beautiful than in the past, as is observed through structural space frames.

What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
The trend of tomorrow will be more of pre-engineered and pre-fab structures that shall save money and time, involving optimum labour and offering more life. Detailing of external facades or skins will become an integrated part of the structural grids and frames themselves, making it totally monolithic and more stable. Technology could be evolved to withstand seismic challenges through esthetical elements avoiding further cosmetic treatment.

What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
I strongly believe that more and more metals would lead the building industry and more and more techniques of pre-engineering and pre-fab will surface structural steel construction in India in a big way. Along with industrial sector, structural steel technology will be employed in public buildings, commercial buildings, and probably, in residential sector for ease of construction, economy and speed.

Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
M/s Ecorea & Kuroda Electric India Pvt. Ltd. is a globally acclaimed Korean and Japanese joint venture based MNC in Pune. M/s EKI is vendor company for the LG group of company in manufacturing world-class injection molding plastic components for their parent company. It intended to set up an industrial complex at MIDC Ranjangaon area district. in Pune in a plot area of 4,00,000 sq. ft. with an initiative to develop infrastructure of 2,80,000 sq. ft.

The plot comprised of two types of land – table land and contour land with valley 10 to 12m depth. Company premises consists of a three-storey office building totally constructed in pre-engineered steel building at front. The main production plant building was designed and constructed on the table land as it required heavy machines and underground utility pipe lines and the warehouse complex was constructed on contour land. This industrial complex has been awarded as AESA BEHERAY RATHI AWARD 2013 for Best Industrial Structure.