Architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) sits squarely at the intersection of architecture and engineering. Of the many structural materials used for large-scale structures, it is AESS that requires the greatest level of technical knowledge from the architect and the greatest level of design appreciation from the engineer.
Engineers strive to create efficient, safe and durable structures; architects aspire to create well-designed, aesthetic structures. Structural steel fabricators often sit in the middle, tasked with crafting steel that is simultaneously correct for visual appeal and stability requirements.
The requirements for form, fit and finish, and for fabrication, erection and coatings are substantially higher for AESS than for ordinary structural steel. As a result, they must be considered throughout the design and development process.
To succeed, an AESS project requires the architect, structural engineer and fabricator to form a triangle of communication, which greatly affects connections, their design and cost. This interactive design process is very different from the more linear process associated with standard structural steel that is hidden from view.
- Australia / New Zealand Guide for specifying architecturally exposed structural steelwork
- Architecturally exposed structural steel, by Terri Meyer Boake and Sylvie Boulanger, Architecture NZ
- The three Cs of AESS, by Terri Meyer Boake and Sylvie Boulanger, Modern Steel Construction
- AESS video presentations.