Steel Exoskeleton Defines Architecture

by Hal Iyengar, (F.ASCE), Pres.; Structural Design International,
John Zils, (F.ASCE), Assoc. Partner; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago, IL,
Robert Sinn, (M.ASCE), Assoc.; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 8, Pg. 42-45

Document Type: Feature article


The Hotel de las Artes multi-use complex in Barcelona, Spain consists of a luxury hotel/apartment tower, a commercial office building, retail, parking and other amenities. The most prominent structural elements of the 43-story tower are the architecturally exposed X-braced structural steel frames located 5 ft out from the exterior window wall. These unique steel frames take on a mega-portal form generated by vertical braced frames interconnected by horizontal braced bays at the bottom, the 33rd floor and the top of the building. These frames resist all wind and seismic lateral forces as well as some of the gravity load. The exterior frame members were chosen for erectability, connection detailing, accessibility for painting and future maintenance, and architectural considerations. All exterior elements are protected against corrosion by a shop-applied primer, undercoat and finish coat, plus a second finish coat applied in the field. The exposed structure is not fireproofed. Instead, state-of-the-art fire engineering methods were used to calculate and analyze exterior steel temperatures.

Subject Headings: Steel frames | Steel structures | Bracing | Steel | Commercial buildings | Architecture | Seismic loads | Gravity loads | Spain | Europe

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