Fun is in the Details: Innovation in Steel Connections

Project Introduction

We maintain that the major roadblock to engaging architectural students in Steel Design rests in the way that it is normally taught. This lies in an education formed of elemental calculations and disparate "bits". Students learn about connections from the point of view of load transfer and bolting requirements, but are never taken to the more advanced step of understanding how that simple connection can become something more complex, and interesting.

This project was first pitched as "Morphing Steel Connections", the idea was to create a "Hollywood" type of f/x transformation that took a standard connection and tranformed it into something highly innovative, right before your eyes. That turned out to be beyond the scope and technology permitted by this project! So we chose to take a more direct approach and begin with the examination of these basic methods for creating steel connections and explore as many examples - up close - to allow for a better view and therefore understanding of these details.

While this project was under development, the new CISC suite of documents for the design and specification of Architecturally Exposed Steel were being produced. As one of us was actually participating in that professionally directed project and produced the visual "guide", it seemed appropriate to leverage that content and incorporate it into this web based, student audience, project.