From fridges to bridges you don’t have to look very far to see the flexibility of stainless steel in design. Perhaps one of the most commonly used areas for structural steel is in construction. So why do architects and designers choose it? Let’s take a closer look…
There’s no getting away from the fact that steel has a real aesthetic appeal. It’s one of the few materials which has the ability to emphasise sleekness, transparency of frame, and strength. It can be moulded into just about any shape, creating some beautiful tactile curves, while at the same time steel can also generate some powerful and striking angles. Because steel is super strong yet lightweight, architects can create endless column-free clear spans giving the feeling and look of cavernous spaces in relatively small areas. Ultimately this means that vast swathes of natural light can flood a space creating a pool of warmth to even the starkest of rooms without the need for extensive lighting.
Total design flexibility
Structural steel is both durable and lightweight meaning that architects can create some pretty amazing designs that you simply wouldn’t be able to create using other materials. From suspended bedrooms seemingly hanging in mid air to striking cubes holding massive panes of glass for uninterrupted views, steel gives you the flexibility to do the impossible. It can be moulded into intricate shapes to create ornate stair-casing, or into solid lengths as girders for a raw industrial feel. There is no other material that can be bent, shaped, cut, pressed, or moulded and still come out as strong or as beautiful as structured steel.
Structured steel construction isn’t all about the design and aesthetics. It has some great practical qualities too. Slender columns can help to maximise floor space. Typically a steel column takes up 75% less space than a concrete column meaning that open plan spaces such as offices were born to be designed with steel in mind. Parking structures also benefit greatly from steel columns. The smaller column footprint needed to complete a build, means more parking spaces can be created within the same space thus maximising the area better.
Perhaps another benefit is the fact that structured steel frame buildings can easily be modified when needs dictate. New stairways can be placed, existing columns and beams can easily be re-strengthened in order to take greater bearing loads, and in the case of the Blue Shield building in Chicago, another 24 additional floors are presently being added many years after it was first erected.
Let’s face it sustainability is a real buzz word right now and structured steel is up there with some of the most sustainable products on the planet. Nowadays structured steel is manufactured using 88% of recycled product. This makes it fully recyclable in the future and it can be re-used again and again without it affecting either quality or strength. Because of this the carbon footprint of steel manufacture has decreased by 47% since 1990 and the energy used to produce it has increased by 35% over the last 30 years and 9% in the last decade.
Here at Metro Steel we love fabricating steel and turning your ideas into a reality. Whether you have an extensive construction project or require a one-off bespoke piece, we can help. Call us today on 07 3204 1000 for a free, no obligation quote.