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Storage Barn in Connecticut Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

June 23, 2010 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – A privately owned storage barn in Washington, Conn., has earned national recognition in the 2010 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) on Wednesday, June 23. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include architect Gray Organschi Architecture, New Haven, Conn.; structural engineer, and AISC member, Edward Stanley Engineers, LLC, Guilford, Conn.; fabricator, and AISC member, Southington Metal Fabricators, Southington, Conn.; general contractor Catalpa Management, Morris, Conn.

The storage barn structure is a Merit Winner in the category of projects Less than $15 Million, making it one of only four projects around the country to earn an award in this classification. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

For this structure, the architect envisioned a vertical and orderly method for storing landscape materials with minimal impact to the pondside site. The project design goals included electricity generation using a photovoltaic array on the roof, and a translucent skin to allow natural daylighting through the walls and roof. The 28 ft by 20 ft translucent structure also glows at night when interior lights are on.

“This is a beautiful and elegant answer to the program,” commented Mitchell A. Hirsch, AIA, Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven, Conn., and a judge in the competition. “It has constantly changing elevational compositions and textures. The strength of the steel allows for this barn to appear lightweight, and sustainability is well thought out with the most efficient use of structure and materials.”

A designed and manufactured steel space frame was selected for the roof framing to satisfy three criteria. First, an eye-pleasing roof system was desired because it would be exposed to view. Second, in-plane strength and stiffness were necessary to resolve the building torsional forces and sway forces. And third, it does not obstruct light transmitting through the translucent roof surface.

The basement contains mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment for the solar array and for a geothermal heating system. The garage stores the forklift and other equipment.

A 3-D analysis model was created to test the strength and performance of the steel-framed superstructure due to the various load combinations. The space frame roof was modeled as a rigid diaphragm with rigid links where it engages the roof beams. Then the output shear forces in the rigid links were transmitted to the space frame manufacturer for each load case use in designing the space frame and its connections.

The structural system derives its success from the use of simple components and its careful integration with the architectural design.

The 12 IDEAS2 winners for 2010 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, “The entire storage barn project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a structure that serves its owner extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

Photos of the storage barn are available upon request. Please contact Tasha O’Berski at 312.670.5439 or [email protected].


For more information contact:

Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]

American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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