“ Steel can be an exciting material to design with… It’s always a pleasure to work with exposed structural steel elements and in addition to being a structurally versatile and adaptable material, Steel offers the opportunity for architectural expression.” says,
Ar Vishal & Asmita Karale, Principal Architects, Vismit Architects
Q. What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
A. 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. The steel buildings can be modified in the future for new applications, loading conditions, vertical expansions, and changes in owner desires in ways that other conventional framing systems can never accomplish. Important advantage is rapid erection in all seasons with close tolerances being maintained for integration with other building systems. Structural steel fabrications can increase the sturdiness of the building, reduce building costs, wastage and time. “Sustainability” is structural steel’s middle name as it is the most recycled material on our planet. It is made of 88 per cent recycled product and is fully recyclable in the future which can be reused without further processing.
Q. How structural steel can be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
A. Structural steel can be creatively exposed with a combination of art, science, and know-how. It can express the structural integrity of a building in a striking way and put the structural system at the forefront aesthetically. Architecturally exposed structural steel can also combine form and function, signature identity, expressing a playful intent while at the same time functioning as a primary load carrying system. Structural steel sections can be bent and rolled to create non-linear members to further enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure. Today, structural steel remains the cost leader for the majority of construction projects when competing with other framing systems. Comparative studies indicate that a structural steel framing system including decking and fire protection will typically cost 5 to 7 % less than a concrete framing system on a national basis.
Q. What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
A. The Indian steel industry is growing both in terms of production and innovations depending on their applications. Structural steels come in various shapes including squares, hexagons, and rounds. They also come in forms such as hollow sections, pipes, cables, and Z-sections. In the coming years, Indian steel manufactures continue to introduce world-class grades and size range enabling the construction industry to design and execute globally renowned structures in India.
Q. What trend are we going to witness in next 5-7 years, as far as designing structures with steel is concerned?
A. Steel is gradually gaining popularity as a construction material in India as well. India is on its drive for a massive infrastructure upgrade and the construction techniques with Indian government’s initiatives, such as increasing the construction of green buildings, smart cities, and make in India scheme, is expected to boost the structural steel fabrication market in India. Considering the growth of our country in Automobile, Aviation, Industrial and Warehouse sectors for the rising preference toward pre-engineered buildings, Steel is going to be a key material component.It is also a preferred option for the development of affordable housing, Commercial buildings, schools, Metro Stations, and long span structures. The trend will continue towards the dynamic structures with the highest possibilities, flexibility, and strength of steel.
Q. What should be the strategy of industry in promoting structural steel construction in India?
A. The awareness among the Indian construction companies to use structural steel in various commercial and residential construction activities is on the rise. In our opinion, Architectural colleges and universities should pay more attention to structural steel in building design by conducting education Seminars, training, and courses for upgrading skills and creating awareness among the students of architecture and civil engineering on an annual basis. Implementation of soft skills by adopting the ideas from overseas advanced technology. Various competitions to be organized at the national level on an annual basis for their innovation and creativity in steel design and application.
Q. Which are the iconic steel-specific projects executed by you?
A. LOTUS Sports & Fitness, Bangalore – is the unique steel structure project facilitates the luxury in sports and fitness setting a benchmark in the city. Considering the functionality of the building, we conceptualised steel as the structural system as well as facade and the same was appreciated by the Client too.
We could save the time and working challenges at the compact site using structural steel. Most of the structural elements are fabricated in the factory and exposed the structural system to the interiors. Designing a building with steel is a memorable experience with its high flexibility and possibilities.