AISC Awards Inaugural Forge Prize to Innovative Architect

July 2, 2019


CHICAGO - The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is pleased to award the inaugural Forge Prize to Jin Young Song of Dioinno Architecture and his promising interlocking module system. 

AISC established the Forge Prize in 2018 to celebrate innovative architects who create visionary designs that use steel as the primary structural component. 

Song and his collaborators received a total of $20,000 to continue the development of their submitted design in a June 7, 2019 event at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas.

Song's modular project was one of three finalists selected in February. Each of these three teams worked with partner fabricators CAST CONNEX, Metals Fabrication Company, or Owen Steel Company to further refine their design concepts. Attendees at the event in Las Vegas also heard about a reimagined office tower using cantilevered trusses, which was the brainchild of Jingyu Lee of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and a responsive enclosure for public pools created by Valeria Rybyakova of Perkins Eastman.

About the winning project: SIMS (Snap-Interlock Module System)
Inspired by Konrad Wachsmann's 1953 proposal for a universal structural element and Le Corbusier's 1914 "Dom-ino" system, Song and his team created a unit-based 'part to whole' system.

SIMS (Snap-Interlock Module System) is a structural module prototype based on the elasticity and flexibility of steel, distributing forces through its unique stacked and interlocked configuration. Each module has four hooked legs on the top and bottom and snaps into four legs from four adjacent modules. The five modules are then interlocked as one unit.

Song’s team has created two arch-shaped prototypes using 3D-printed modules. They say further design analysis will be necessary to demonstrate how this 'part-to-whole' system can be applied to building structures, facades, substructures, architectural partition walls, and more.

Jin Young Song, Dioinno Architecture

Additional collaborators:
Fabrication Manager: Daniel Vrana, University at Buffalo
Partner fabricator: CAST CONNEX
Structure Analysis: Jongmin Shim, PhD, University at Buffalo; Xiangdong He, University at Buffalo
Student researcher: Michael Gac, University at Buffalo
Structure Consultant: Bonghwan Kim, PE, AIA, LEED AP, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

For more information and images of the winning projects, visit the Forge Prize Winners webpage. 

About the Forge Prize:

The inaugural Forge Prize would have been impossible without a jury of world-renowned architecture professionals who have decades of experience in research, design, teaching, and publishing. AISC would like to extend special thanks to this year's judges:

Terri Meyer Boake, B.E.S., B.Arch., M.Arch., LEED AP is a Full Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She has been teaching building construction, structures, environmental design, and film since 1986. She works with CISC, ACSA, and AISC to develop teaching resources for architectural education that feature architecturally exposed structural steel. 

Joseph G. Burns, S.E., P.E., CEng, F.IStructE, FAIA, RIBA, LEED AP is a Managing Principal at Thornton Tomasetti in Chicago. Burns is a passionate advocate for the deeper integration of architecture and engineering, which he promotes through technical innovation in the design of structural systems, collaboration in practice, and leadership in building science education. A member of Thornton Tomasetti's board of directors, he oversees the firm's operations in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Brazil. 

Eui-Sung Yi is currently Design Principal at Morphosis Architects and Director of The Now Institute at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design. He received his Bachelor of Architecture at Cornell University and his Master of Architecture at Harvard University. Yi has been involved with academia and scholarship for over fifteen years in Asia and the U.S. His current position of Director with The Now Institute is a 10-year culmination of research initiatives and speculations with Thom Mayne on emerging urban issues confronting major metropolises and disaster-stricken cities.

AISC would also like to thank the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture for its invaluable assistance in administering the Forge Prize program in its first year.

Those interested in participating in next year's competition should contact to be included in our 2020 Forge Prize Interest List.


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, 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, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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