Steel Frame Structure Studies

Studio project at The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), instructor John Enright, 2014

with Diastika Lokesworo

Following the development of an aggregated system of modules, this set of studies looked into the methods by which a surface might be converted into structure. Given the constraints of planarity and tolerances, this called for both a thorough questioning of the surface-like qualities of the aggregation in contrast to redefined representations (in the form of variable structure) and a renewed interest interrogating the properties of the aggregation to produce more variable spaces.

By rotating cells within the aggregation, continuity of vertical force deformation were produced. This expedited the flow of force through the aggregation's structural logic. Additional optimization of the surfaces' curvatures allowed more connections between arching members, further regulating the vertical dispersion of stress.

Differentiation of spaces with various dimensions within the organization, created by stretching the boundaries of each module's cell

Each module is subdivided vertically and infilled with X-bracing in order to provide adequate strength in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Speaking phenomenologically, this produces an articulation of the curvature which is read as a varying field when seen from afar, blurring and questioning the division in reading between base surface and articulated element.

In developing a structural system to compose the frame, a consideration was made about how to understand the innate properties of the geometry. Surface's edges became the natural moments at which to run primary members, while diagonal frames braced the spans between them, giving reading to the trace of the surface even after its dissolution into structural members.

After compiling the structural modules into the overall organization, it became important to calibrate density of structure such that its dimensions not only reflected those of realistic steel members but spoke to an overall reading of surface and enclosed volume that returned to the underlying intentions of the module, constituting a continuity of surface and volume across a varying swath of spaces.