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Cutting Horse Ranch in North Texas Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

September 28, 2011 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – The Cutting Horse Ranch project, a 175-acre ranch in North Texas west of Fort Worth has earned national recognition in the 2011 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a ceremony at the ranch on Thursday, September 29. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country. The IDEAS2 award is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S.

The Cutting Horse Ranch project team members include architect Lake/Flato Architects, San Antonio, Texas; structural engineer Datum Engineers (AISC Member), Austin, Texas; steel erector CN Construction, Inc. (IMPACT and SEAA Member), Fort Worth, Texas; general contractor Lincoln Builders of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas.

Cutting Horse Ranch is a National Award winner in the category of projects costing Less than $15 Million, making it one of only eight projects around the country to receive the National honor. 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.

This 175-acre ranch in the cross timbers region of Texas was created for the care, training and breeding of cutting horses. The master plan includes a steel-framed arena, horse barns, cattle pens and service structures placed among woods, pastures, roads and trails.

The structural engineer and steel fabricator were early members of the design team that developed the structural and aesthetic vocabulary for approximately 100,000 sq ft of exposed steel structure. The exposed steel columns and trusses express the regional barn vernacular while offering clean, modern lines to the ranch buildings; the perforated, corrugated metal cladding opens the spaces to daylight and breezes, eliminating the need for operable windows. These elements come together to provide a comfortable environment for the horses and staff. The few air-conditioned spaces are clad in galvanized metal and wood, allowing a continuity of design vocabulary and refuge from the hot Texas summer for the ranch hands and managers.

“Simple and beautiful,” commented Farro Tofighi, P.E., managing principal at DeSimone Consulting Engineers, and a judge in the competition.

The long structures of the barns and arena sit along a tree-lined creek to block the north wind while taking advantage of summer breezes from the south. The arena cuts into the sloping grade to reduce the impact of this tall structure. Repeating gable roof forms, supported by steel and pipe trusses, continue from the arena to the training barn and provide cover for a connecting ramp, horse walker, and wood-clad ranch office. The covered ramp continues alongside a long water trough to the outdoor arena and gathering pavilion. Isolated against the tree line to the west is the mare barn while the tall hydrotherapy barn fills the space between the barns and arena.

The pastures are defined by five-rail pipe fences with steel-framed loafing sheds placed throughout for sheltering horses, while selective clearing left stands of mature trees for shade. The loafing sheds, made of oxidized steel and weathered wood, sit in the grassy landscape of the pastures.

Classic barn shapes surrounded by rolling fenced pastures provide a familiar quality to a project with a modernist application and detailing of structural and clad steel.

The 14 IDEAS2 winners for 2011 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 award dates back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, “The entire Cutting Horse Ranch project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a modern ranch that serves its purpose extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

View high resolution images of the Cutting Horse Ranch project in a slideshow gallery of photos available here.

Cutting Horse Ranch
Photo by Frank Ooms Photography


For more information contact:

Tasha Weiss
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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