Steel Structure Trivia: Flying High

The above photo, snapped recently by one of our AISC staffers (who is often on the road--or in the air), shows one of the first airport construction projects to use a substantial amount of Hollow Structural Sections (HSS)--not to mention cellular steel beams-- achieving stunning open-air aesthetics that paved the way for a new era in airport architecture. This HSS terminal can be found in one of the top five busiest U.S. airports for Thanksgiving travel. 

Your November Steel Structure Trivia question is: What airport is this HSS terminal located in?


The answer is Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Congratulations to our winner: Nep Viajar, a civil/structural engineer with Fluor Corp. in Houston!

The photo was taken in Terminal 3, near a sign pointing to Concourses H and K. When the terminal was constructed in the late 1980s through early 1990s, it was known as the United Airlines Terminal, and the project’s use of HSS and connections propelled its status to the “Terminal of Tomorrow.”

The United Airlines Terminal received an AISC Architectural Award of Excellence in 1990. For a detailed project description and photos, see the November-December 1990 issue of MSC.

Additional information on how HSS was used in the construction of the project can be found on the Steel Tube Institute website, here.

You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month (or in this case, the second-to-last Friday, thanks to Thanksgiving), where a new trivia question will be posted to the Steel in the News section. Due to our offices closing during the holiday season next month, our next question will be posted in 2015 on Friday, January 30.

The first three people to submit the correct answer will receive an MSC-branded, stainless steel back scratcher! (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 5 1/2 in. to 19 1/4 in. in length.