Terri Meyer Boake, BES, BArch, MArch, LEED AP
Professor School of Architecture University of Waterloo
email: tboake@uwaterloo.ca

World Financial Center
World Finanacial Center Pavilion, New York City - Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Arch 375:
Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel

Winter 2014:
Course Home Page

course outline

last updated April 5, 2014 9:28 AM


Course Description:

Using an international database of case studies this course examines in detail the architectural design, specification, fabrication and construction process for Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS). It references the standards that were developed by the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction. Lectures will address topics including, the AESS Category Approach, fabrication standards and practices, project communication, tensile structures, diagrid structures, curved steel, castings, pedestrian bridges, steel with glazing, steel with timber. The work of the term will use current steel based competitions to explore detailed design application of the material.

The term’s knowledge will focus on design projects that requires the students to design and detail architecturally exposed structural steel systems, connections and buildings.

Students will
· keep a detailed sketchbook of examples and details addressed in class,
· in teams of 2 or 3 students, complete the SSEF Design Competition "SPAN"
· in teams of 2 or 3 students, complete the AISC/ACSA Design Competition "A Border Crossing" or the OPEN Category. The latter could be an extrapolation of your 3A studio project if desired.

The overall intention is to provide you with a high level appreciation of steel structural systems and an adeptness for detailing that is appropriate to the specific project and building type. The work of the term is intended to provide you with some signficant pieces for your portfolio.

The majority of the project work has been designed as group projects to keep it manageable and within the suggested constraints of an elective. If there are compelling reasons for tackling the work individually, these can be discussed.

The course is a "work up" of research that I am putting into book form this coming year for a new book on Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel to be published by Birkhauser in January 2015.

Log-in to LEARN: here

Schedule of Classes: Fridays, 10am to noon, Main Lecture Theatre, Cambridge

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 pm to 2 pm


How this all started, the birth of AESS in High Tech and Industrialized Building


Architecture of Assembly slideshow (from Arch 173)


Jan 10

The development and details of the new system created by CISC to clarify the design, construction and fabrication of AESS systems.

Intro Powerpoint


Jan 17

A look in more detail at several Canadian buildings using the CISC method of Categories and Characteristics. Topics will also address finishes and corrosion protection as these impact the detailing of an exposed structure.



Jan 24

A look at different ways that we create long spans with structural systems. Types will include truss systems, spaceframes. Applications will include buildings and pedestrian bridges. Discussion will focus on preparation for the SSEF "SPAN" Competition.

SPAN Powerpoint

This truss is not AESS, but presents the issues related to lifting a 70 tonne long span piece of steel into place. There are two videos in the series if you click the "playlist" button.


Jan 31

An examination of a range of applications of tension systems for building structures, canopies, roofs and pedestrian bridges.


tension slideshow

A review of previous winning competition schemes. A strategizing session to understand the perspective of the jury, role of the brief and to plan a strategy for winning!


Feb 7

Interim presentations by the class of their rough schemes for the SSEF SPAN Competition for discussion and review.

Castings of the 21st century are very different than the elaborate castings of the 19th century. A look at the application of modern cast steel via several case studies.
Curved structures can be achieved via several means, all related to the scale of the building, budget and technical means available.



Feb 14

My book on Diagrid Structures will be released in January 2014. This lecture will look at many of the case studies covered in the book in detail, along with the method of design established in the book. We will also look at the design of bracing systems for buildings that can also be architecturally expressed. A new Canadian designed system used post quake in Christchurch, New Zealand will be discussed.



Feb 21

No class - Reading Week


Feb 28

SSEF "SPAN" Competition entries due. Submission via LEARN. Log-in to LEARN: here

No class, Terri at SSEF Educators Conference in Quebec City (these are the sponsors for the competition)


Mar 7

No class, Terri away for research


Mar 14

No class, Terri away for research


Mar 21

Presentations by the class of their initial schemes for the AISC/ACSA Border Crossing Competition for discussion and review. Note: Registration deadline for ACSA is March 19. If students would prefer to enter the OPEN Category or Border Crossing Category, this must be established before this point.

An examination of some of the newer cable type glazing systems to see how these work with AESS systems. The tolerances in glazing systems are even tighter than for finely detailed AESS structures, and these systems are often used together.


steel and glazing slideshow


Mar 28

No class, Terri presenting at National Steel Conference in Toronto on "Steel Bracing Systems"



Apr 4

A look at some signficant projects that have used exposed steel and heavy timber or glulam. Steel and timber undergo very different thermal and moisture related movement, so this must be taken into account when detailing the systems.


steel and timber slideshow


Q&A Session for the final competition project.

Apr ??

An extra session to be arranged at a mutually convenient time for consultation on the final design project.

Apr 24

Work to date to be submitted for the AISC/ACSA Competition. The final competition submission is not due to ACSA until May 21. A provisional grade will be used for end of term grading purposes. This can be revised to account for the final competition entry. Submission via LEARN.


Reference Texts and other Materials:

Understanding Steel Design: An Architectural Design Manual. by Terri Meyer Boake. Birkhauser 2012.

Canadian Institute of Steel Construction Guide for Specifying AESS. by Terri Meyer Boake.
(download free PDF. Hard copy provided in class to enrolled students).

Here are some of my websites to assist with steel connection design:

Steel: Fun is in the Details

Steel Image Gallery:

AESS Facebook Page:

Look at resources in the industry:
Canadian Institute of Steel Construction: http://www.cisc-icca.ca/
American Institute of Steel Construction: http://www.aisc.org/
Canadian Sheet Steel Building Institute: http://www.cssbi.ca/
Steel Structures Education Foundation: http://www.ssef.ca


The final term grade will consist of an average of submitted work as follows.

Late Penalties:
Projects or assignments submitted after the due date or due time will be penalized 5% per calendar day of lateness, with no maximum.

SKETCHBOOK: 20% You are required to keep a sketchbook/notebook for this class. It will be graded /10 for evidence of class attendance and /10 for completeness/coherence of said notes. As the focus of the course is on steel detailing, the lecture will be paused at several points during the class to allow adequate time to sketch the details on the screen. Approximately 3 to 4 detailed sketches per lecture. Pause time will vary. If you miss a class, you lose both the mark for attendance as well as the potential mark for the quality of those notes.

SSEF Competition:
Done in teams of 2 or 3 students. Two board submission as per their requirements. 35%

ACSA/AISC Competition:
Done in teams of 2 or 3 students. Four board submission as per their requirements. 45%


Avoidance of Academic Offenses

Academic Integrity: To create and promote a culture of academic integrity, the behaviour of all members of the University of Waterloo is based on honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [Check www.uwaterloo.ca/academicintegrity/for more information.]

 A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy70.htm

A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offense, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offenses (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 – Student Discipline. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy71.htm

A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy72.htm

Note for students with disabilities: The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD), located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the OPD at the beginning of each academic term. Once registered with OPD, please meet with me in confidence during my office hours to discuss your needs.


last updated April 5, 2014 9:28 AM