Engineers and architects alike are constantly drawn to the beauty of steel as a building material. Architecturally exposed structural steel is often chosen by architects to expose steel in their buildings for both practical and aesthetic reasons (AESS).
Learn more about the many classifications and variables that affect structural steel that is exposed in buildings by reading on.
Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel is referred to as AESS. Given that it will be on display, it is created to be both structurally sound and visually pleasing. AESS becomes essential for the structural design and architectural design of a building or structure when employed in this way.
Architecturally exposed structural steel has considerably superior details and finishes than structural steel that is often concealed by other finishes since it is readily visible.
Steel design employing AAES necessitates taking balance, form, symmetry, and economy into account. Two components—resistance and tolerances—come first among all the structural steel layout components.
Finding the optimal design to build connections that give a structure a unique character while remaining structurally sound is difficult when using AESS as a design tool.
Various AESS Categories
AESS can be divided into five groups based on the specifications and code details:
Basic Elements: the minimal manufacturing treatment for exposed steel. This category primarily makes use of bolt heads to offer a consistent appearance and support.
These structural features can be seen from a distance of more than 20 feet. Detailing isn’t as crucial for them as it would be for others, even if they are still apparent to the human eye.
Elements in Near View are those structural elements that can be seen clearly from a distance of no more than 20 feet. This category adheres to the same specifications as the first two, but since the components are closer together, it emphasises the details more.
Showcasing Elements: The primary emphasis in this case is on the sculptural qualities of steel. In fact, incorporating steel as an architectural feature serves as an inspiration for this category.
Custom elements: The final category focuses on designing unique structures that can have sharp edges in some places and smooth edges in others, allowing for more versatility than earlier categories.
AESS Influencing Factors
The appearance and feel of the structure are influenced by a variety of things while using AESS. Beyond the structural characteristics of each component, structural engineers, steel producers, and architects collaborate to determine the ideal AESS indicators for a project.
Connections and Their Types
Choosing the connection method is crucial (welding vs. bolting). This will be the way that each joint is made, and it will have a big effect on how the connections and overall steel structure are put together. Because the structure doesn’t require perforations, welded joins are structurally stronger than bolted ones. Yet, from an aesthetic standpoint, bolted joints are more straightforward and have a more industrial appearance while welded joints have a smoother finish.
Dimensions and Forms of the Elements
Considerations like the steel’s form must be taken into account when designing with AESS. For instance, the fit and finish of a smooth steel pipe differs from that of a wide fangle steel construction. Time and money will be impacted by these choices just as they would be by the other elements that affect structural steel that is exposed in buildings.
The Physical Environment
The key factor in designing with AEES is location. Galvanized steel might be necessary to withstand the weather, for instance, if the goal is to build a steel construction that will be outdoors and exposed to factors like rain and sunlight. The consistency of galvanising itself can be problematic, and finishes don’t offer the same level of fine details as other coatings. For indoor constructions, paint and other steel coatings can be used to obtain the finishes.