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DETAIL 4/2017 - Steel Construction

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The Supreme Discipline of Architecture

With geometric patterns resembling Arabian ornamentation, the dome over the Louvre in Abu Dhabi conjures many associations, but the idea of a complex space-frame structure is certainly not the first that comes to mind. 

Parametric 3D models were used in the development of the prefabricated elements, which were bolted and welded together on site in the desert. Steel structures of this kind are an essential part of the supreme discipline of architecture, and the April edition of “Detail” documents various examples of the great scope afforded by steel in building, its aesthetic and constructional advantages and the details implicit to it.

The Catalan trio RCR Architects, who won this year’s Pritzker Prize, enclosed the Soulages Museum in Rodez, France, in a rust-red preoxidized-steel casing, while the internal black-steel lining makes reference to the works of the artist Pierre Soulages exhibited there (p. 54). The house in Tokyo by Makoto Takei + Chie Nabeshima (p. 50) exploits the advantages of steel with proposals to dismantle certain modules of the skeleton frame in the foreseeable future and re-erect them on the side of the building. In contrast, as part of their conversion of an office development in Oslo, the Norwegian practice of Ghilardi and Hellsten inserted a stabilizing steel “implant” structure and gave the existing building an elegant new face with box-type windows and dark stainless-steel strips, thus enhancing the urban environment at the same time (p. 44). These and other projects have been compiled by Frank Kaltenbach in the present issue.