Translucent Structural Beacon

by Drew A. Norman, President; Drew A. Norman and Associates, 1741 Silver Lake Blvd., Suite 2C, Los Angeles, CA 90026,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 2, Pg. 50-52

Document Type: Feature article


In East Los Angeles some 2,000 children, teens and adults are accessing their future inside a building that is as high-tech as the computers they are using to learn. The 40,000 sq ft building features an exposed steel exoskeleton with tension framing and translucent walls and roof that admit natural light during the day. To fit the building on a two-acre site, its second floor is considerably larger than the first, leaving parking space below the overhangs. The roof is supported on hangers from the structural roof framing that consists of tubes and wide flange shapes, with the panels spanning 14 ft between continuous rows of headers that also support continuous rain gutters. Hanger rods that support the second floor are attached to tendon points along the perimeter of the roof. The interior is fitted with raised floor classrooms, multiple HVAC units and partitions that can be changed as needed.

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