The coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China, is anticipated to negatively impact the global trade of raw materials in the coming months. According to market analytics company S&P Global Platts, the consumption and processing of commodities like iron ore and steel are likely to dip throughout the country and cause ripple effects in economics throughout the world. What’s not clear is how severe the situation will get. In late January, China announced it would shut down over two-thirds of its economy due to the outbreak that started in Wuhan city. Since the Chinese Lunar New Year began as the virus spread, many companies across the mainland have halted production and construction crews have paused work as an extension of the holiday break. Fourteen provinces, including the major manufacturing hub of Hubei where Wuhan is located, and other metropolitan areas such as the port city of Shanghai, will be on lockdown until next week. Fortune noted that those regions make up 90 percent of the country’s copper smelting, 60 percent of its steel manufacturing, and 40 percent of coal output. Normally during Lunar New Year, companies stop or reduce production, but the recent three-day extension of the holiday—largely due to transportation restrictions to and from quarantined areas and to encourage people to stay home—may cause an added riff in planned-manufacturing and eventually quarterly sales. Bloomberg noted that any changes in China’s steel industry, specifically, “which accounts for more than half global output, set the tone for producers and users around the world.” Some experts say the impact won’t be felt until next month—S&P Global Platts said February is typically the weakest time of the year for metal output in China since demand is low due to the holiday. Construction is also normally slow because of the colder weather. London-based analytics organization Argus believes after the extended Lunar New Year break is officially over, the market for products like rebar and coil will drop while “the downstream market will be reduced, pushing back demand for finished steel products.” Despite these fears, China’s most influential steel group, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), called for industry stability and asked steel companies not to inflate steel prices because of the declining demand. Reuters reported that CISA wants mills to “reasonably adjust their production rhythms” and “jointly safeguard hard-won ‘de-capacity’ results” in order to maintain profitability and reach levels of normalcy later in the year. Both in China and worldwide, the long-term effects of the coronavirus are still up in the air. The World Health Organization reported this week that 24 countries have confirmed cases of the outbreak, though most resulted from contact with people who had come directly from China and Wuhan, where 563 people have died. Meanwhile, China is expected to lift its tariff on coking coal, which is used for making steel soon, leaving some U.S.-based mining companies ready to once again sell in the Chinese market.
Posts tagged with "Steel":
Brought to you with support fromThe Mark is a 750,000 SF, 48-story commercial office and hotel tower that's reshaping the Seattle skyline, and designed to preserve the historic Jacobean-style Rainier Club and the nation’s oldest Byzantine-style church next door. Utilizing a compact footprint at ground level, the tower subtly slopes over the site’s existing structures before tapering back through a precise system of steel “knuckles” and triangulated building planes.
The Sanctuary and The Rainier Club to provide an enclosed court between buildings. With 15,000 square feet available on The Mark's first floor, the floorplates needed to expand on subsequent levels to maximize leasing potential. Through a joint development agreement with The Rainier Club, ‘over-under’ property rights are utilized. It is Seattle's first tower with column-free floors and floor-to-ceiling windows—more per square foot than in any other building in the city. At the heart of the tower is a diagonal steel mega-brace system. The exposed braces zigzag up the tower’s facade and are embedded 11 inches into its reflective glazing. The intersections of the braces are called “the knuckles,” where brace members were initially bolted and finished with penetration welds. The knuckles are a result of the desire to stitch the building together along its corners, even though the design also mandated that the same corners be column-free. Every knuckle had to occur at a floor level, so that forces from braces on two orthogonal faces could be resolved into the floor structure. The structural system shifts the load away from the core and to the exterior walls, allowing for a smaller core and creating more rentable floor space. ZGF and Arup worked with steel fabricator Supreme Steel to create the knuckles with a Halfen anchoring system for the building’s unitized panels. Supreme Steel developed a detailed three-dimensional model showing all of the welds and plates. The mega-brace structural technology enveloping The Mark is a first for towers in high-seismic regions. The design optimizes building height, configuration and floor plate efficiency while responding to the owner’s vision for an iconic addition to downtown Seattle’s skyline. Allyn Stellmacher, a partner at ZGF Architects, talked about what it meant to rethink tall buildings in the city. “Our client, Kevin Daniels, envisioned a project that could reset expectations for high-rises in Seattle. Alongside our project partners, it was gratifying to help make our mark on the skyline.” ZGF associate Henry Zimmerman and Arup associate Bryce Tanner will be presenting The Mark on the panel"Thinking Outside the Box: Detailing and Fabrication Considerations for Advanced Building Geometries," at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Seattle conference on December 6.Preserving and incorporating the First United Methodist Church into the new development, the tower rises from the city block with a faceted form. At the tower’s base, a transparent entrance lobby and lower level facade integrates with
Brought to you with support fromPositioned adjacent to Lake Geneva and the Parc Louis Borget, the Olympic House is located on the outskirts of Lausanne, Switzerland. Opened in June 2019, the objective of the building's scheme was to bring the International Olympic Committee's hundreds of employees, spread across the city, under one roof. The project—which began as a competition in 2012—was led by the Danish architectural practice 3XN in collaboration with Swiss firm Itten+Brechbühl. For the facade of the new headquarters, the design team developed an undulating double-skin glass facade crafted with a custom-parametric script that produced thousands of models and drawings.
Olympic House, 3XN relied on a minimal data model defined by five parametric curves per elevation. A separate drawing was developed for each component of the facade assembly, culminating in approximately 33,500 individual drawings. The original design concept developed by 3XN called for the interior and outer skins to mirror each other, with both being comprised of distorted, diamond-shaped panels. Following consultation with facade manufacturer and installer Frener & Reifer, it was determined that such a layout could prove cost-prohibitive. Instead, the original complexity of the outer facade was maintained, while that of the interior was simplified to a more standard curtain wall format. Although the simplification of the double-skin enclosure reduced the cost and construction time of the project—construction began on May 2016 and the building was air- and- watertight by 2018—the assembly of the facade remained remarkably complex. "Every element in the facade, except the nuts and bolts holding it together, is unique," said the design team. "Each glass panel, each load-bearing column, is unique in its shape and in its relations to neighboring elements." There are 194 glass panels per floor for both the inner and outer facade. The inner facade is held at the top and bottom at each floor plate with base profiles and has a surface area of just under 25,000 square feet. Girder arms extend from the concrete roof slab, which in turn support the 388 aluminum-clad steel fins that line each elevation. According to Frener Reifer, "this made it possible to hang the fins from top to bottom and to transfer the load of the upper two floors to the roof." Additionally, the exact height of the fins could be altered on-site through the use of adjustable screws. To shade the broadly illuminated office space, the design team placed three-inch-thick aluminum Venetian blinds between the interior and exterior facades. Additionally, a catwalk is accessible from 24 points within the building between the two curtain walls, facilitating a straightforward maintenance program.The building rises to a height of four stories and encompasses nearly 240,000 square feet, with the lowest floor burrowed into the landscaping. According to the design team, the primary stylistic influence for the enclosure was the form of the athlete—each perspective provides a different viewpoint of the building, as if it were in movement. To develop the form of the
Last month, Metals in Construction magazine and the Steel Institute of New York gathered at TheTimesCenter in New York City to announce the winner and five finalists for their 2019 Design Challenge, titled “Create A New Urban Pathway.” The competition asked architects, planners, and engineers to design a pedestrian bridge that connects the forthcoming Moynihan Train Hall, situated across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, with Chelsea’s Hudson Yards, the city’s largest private real estate development, the first phase of which opens this week. The pathway between the Moynihan Train Hall and Hudson Yards would serve as an anchor for the rising development of Manhattan’s Far West Side, which is expected to receive roughly 100,000 pedestrians traveling between the two destinations each day. With midtown’s upcoming surge of foot traffic, the design challenge sought to think of ways to make pedestrian travel more safe, efficient, and appealing to city dwellers, particularly through the construction of floating promenades—elevated, landscaped walkways that not only reduce inner-city congestion, but also prove beneficial to the health and overall well-being of citizens. Judges and participants of the competition looked for inspiration from the immensely popular High Line—the now iconic urban pathway that, in 2014, dramatically transformed from an abandoned railway into a picturesque walkway. Metals in Construction magazine awarded a $15,000 grand prize to the winning team from New York–based DXA Studio. The team’s proposal, titled “The Midtown Viaduct,” was chosen from a group of 45 qualifying entries and was praised by the panel of four judges for its structural practicality and streamlined design, which would offer city dwellers a new and exciting urban experience. The Midtown Viaduct is composed of interlaced steel plate work, drawing from the industrial components of the High Line and the steel of the original Penn Station, to create a winding and dynamic walkway that would connect the two destinations and give pedestrians a recreational space to stride. “[The Midtown Viaduct] employs forward-thinking approaches to form, fabrication, assembly, and urban solutions that mitigate/synthesize the complex forces of contemporary cities,” wrote the team from DXA Studio. While DXA studio's pedestrian bridge will probably never materialize in real life, the proposal serves as an innovative approach to topics concerning the livability and walkability of cities. Metals in Construction magazine will be holding another design competition next year, themed “Create A New Urban Identity,” which will challenge participants to reimagine the skin of an existing building in New York City. More details about the competition will be announced in September 2019.
Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has boomed due to the proliferation of new technology that is reducing the cost of construction and long-term operability. However, one critical problem still remains: storing renewable energy during lulls in wind speed or sun exposure is often prohibitively expensive. In response to this issue, Energy Vault, a subsidiary of California’s IdeaLab, has recently announced a straightforward mechanism for the conservation of renewable sources using kinetic forces. The mechanism proposed by Energy Vault is a nearly 400-foot tall, six-armed steel crane. Using proprietary software, the towering structure orchestrates the placement of 35-ton blocks of concrete in response to drop-offs in demand and fluctuations in environmental conditions. How does it work? As power demand decreases, the cranes surround themselves with concentric rings of the concrete bricks lifted by the leftover power from surrounding wind and solar farms. Once demand increases, the cranes begin lowering the bricks, which powers turbines that transform the kinetic energy into electricity that gets pumped back into the grid. Energy Vault’s team looked toward preexisting renewable energy sources that rely on gravitational forces. According to Energy Vault, the technology was influenced by energy retention strategies of hydroelectric power dams that pump water into a series of cisterns on higher ground that ultimately flow downwards into energy turbines once demand rises. Unlike conventional resources used for the retention of renewable energy, such as Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack lithium-ion stationary batteries, the system developed by Energy Vault does not rely on chemical storage solutions or high-cost materials. Recycled debris from preexisting construction sites can be used for the fabrication of the bricks, which are viable for up to four decades without a decrease in storage capacity. Currently, Energy Vault is partnering with India’s Tata Power Company Limited to construct an initial 35 MWh system with an expected date of completion in 2019.
Brought to you with support fromIn 2011, Buenos Aires-based estudio Claudio Vekstein_Opera Publica (eCV) was approached by the government of Argentina's Sante Fe Province to design a space memorializing the centennial of the Alcorta Farmers Revolt. Founded in 1892, Alcorta is a small farming town laid out according to a dense and rigid grid surrounded by plotted agricultural land, an urban morphology typical of this southern corner of the province. From this historical context, eCV's Memorial Space and Monument of the Alcorta Farmers Revolt rises as an asymmetrical fissured edifice wrapped with semi-translucent, prefabricated epoxy resin-and-fiberglass panels.
fiberglass, and rough burlap cloth. For the relief of the bags, eCV designed a set of rectangular molds of a standard height and varying widths. These modules are plugged into 275 alternating facade elements measuring approximately 3.5 feet in height and 7 feet in width. The billowing mass of the reinforced resin panels is broken by a series of narrow apertures of four different dimensions. The structure of the monument is highly visible, consisting of exposed and inclined steel beams and trusses planted into a concrete foundation. Mounting the precast facade panels onto the structure was a fairly straightforward operation: the panels are attached to a bracket-connected metal framing system with self-tapping screws. In total, the installation of the panels took approximately three weeks. A significant portion of the northwestern facade folds over the 4,300 square-foot built area and interior segments of the panels are backed by rows of grooved fiberglass. The rear elevations, which host offices of the Agrarian Federation and communal spaces, are fronted by rectangular corrugated sheets of metal that are similarly fastened to a framing system. During the day, the semi-translucent screen filters a soft yellow light into the memorial's principal spaces. The rough burlap fabric, which provides the panels their outward dark hue, takes on the form of a glowing and sinuous skin. As the sun sets and interior spaces are illuminated by artificial lighting, the facade becomes a lamp beaming toward Alcorta. Beyond the facade, eCV’s interior is spartan and reflective of the populist ethos of the overall design typology–the flooring is bare concrete, with steel trusses and cross braces cascading below the slanted roofline. After six years of episodic construction, the complex opened to the public on the 106th anniversary of the uprising in June 2018.The complex, located on an approximately 81,000 square-foot plot, is a visual homage to the town and region’s proud pastoral heritage. For the main northwestern facade, eCV Principal Claudio Vekstein turned to the region’s traditional forms; during the harvest season, farmers would pile their corn bags into hillock-scale mounds as a testament of collective pride in their work. Approaching the memorial from the southern border of the town, Vekstein achieves a material and symbolic bridge to the past with a vast canvas of an “insistent, alternating and syncopated relief of bags” formed out of epoxy resin,
Brought to you with support fromIn 2011, Dominique Perrault Architecture (DPA) was chosen by France Galop, the governing body of horse racing in France, to redesign and modernize Paris’s venerable Longchamp Racecourse. Located in the city’s second largest park, Bois de Boulogne, the design of the 160,000-square-foot project seeks to connect to the surrounding landscape—the racecourse’s most prestigious events occur during the fall—with a luminous gold-yellow aluminum and steel facade. Construction of the project was completed in January 2018.
concrete pavilions that dwarfed their surroundings. DPA's update stripped away these bare concrete additions, built a new 10,000-person capacity grandstand, and restored surrounding historic structures, with the goal of boosting year-round use of the facility and its overall cohesion with the surrounding city. The new 525-foot-long grandstand has a polished golden hue, which contrasts with the bright white coloring of adjacent historic structures. Aluminum and steel in a variety of treatments and configurations clad a steel and concrete structural system. For the curtain wall, DPA opted for sliding, 10-foot tall stainless steel mesh panels stretched within a frame by a simple pin and rod mechanism. Produced by metal fabrics manufacturer GKD and framed by LCD Pose, the operable panels are a subtle kinetic element that facilitates natural ventilation and light filtration. An aluminum rainscreen, produced and installed by Bysteel, courses across the complex in flat rectangular panels to create a protruding chevron frieze. Below the cantilevered top balcony, the iridescent cladding serves as a semi-reflective soffit that distorts the scene below. Glass panels, measuring approximately six feet in width and four feet in height, line the grandstand as a semi-translucent balustrade. To ensure visibility of the racetrack for the audience, glass manufacturer and glaze specialist Saint Gobain provided low-iron SGG Diamant panels, facilitating greater light transmittance and minimal green tint. The panels were screen printed with pixelated patterns evoking foliage across the facade. The massing of the grandstand is meant to represent the motion of a galloping horse: the top floor dramatically cantilevers 65 feet over a steel-and-concrete console and inclines toward the adjacent racecourse. With open-ended terraces—referred to as "transparent shelves" by DPA—and a design that faces outward, the crowd is afforded vistas of the stables below and the city beyond.Opened to the public in 1857 as part of Haussmann’s civic improvement schemes, the Longchamp Racecourse has undergone significant transformations over the course of its century-and-a-half existence, including the destruction of two historic grandstands in favor of mid-century
Brought to you with support fromEstonia-based architectural practice molumba has enlivened a suburban office block with a unique concrete and aluminum screen assembly. The project was commissioned by AS Elering—the nation’s largest transmission systems operator for electricity and natural gas—as a dramatic, three-fold expansion of the preexisting structure in Mustamäe, a southwestern neighborhood in the nation’s capital of Tallinn.
aluminum strips measuring 12 to 41 feet, which are in turn welded to a series of connecting bars. Each pier possesses its own steel support structure consisting of two internal, vertical columns fastened to the welded connecting bars. The design of the complex references the spindly and bundled power line, a ubiquitous feature across urban landscapes. AS Elering operates a multi-acre electrical substation next door. According to design lead Karli Luik, molumba envisioned the project as “the brain of the electricity and gas transmission network, monitoring and administrating their vitally important circulation.” As a vitally important aspect of Estonia’s energy infrastructure, the entire 40,000 square-foot complex is ringed by a perimeter wall fashioned of the same turquoise aluminum screen. For molumba, the bigger question was how to give the mesh triangles a truly functional quality outside of their aesthetic elements. The two planes of the piers form an acute isosceles triangle: the two congruent sides measure just under four feet while the base is approximately three feet. This shorter edge is placed atop the building’s 20 by 10 foot black precast concrete panels and wedged between window openings. With a 41-degree circumcenter angle, the piers function as effective passive sun shades for office functions within. Additionally, the mesh frame serves as an industrially-produced lattice screen for future vegetative growth to coil up the facade. The interior, designed by Stuudio Oü, features a design that similarly echoes the building's utilitarian function. Spiraling stairwells, built of concrete and steel, vertically course through the east and west elevations of the headquarters, while exposed pipes, cables, and pendant lamps made of recycled insulators line the ceiling and walls. A central vegetated courtyard and a two-story, wood-paneled stairwell, with steps of varying size, are the office block's principal communal areas. At the core of it all lies the "Brain," where the nation's energy transmission network is surveilled through a hippodrome of monitors.Over 140 turquoise mesh piers ring and visually buttress each elevation, a play on historical castellation and Gothic design found throughout Tallinn’s Old Town. The piers are built of full-length
Brought to you with support fromCompleted in June 2018, the Palace for Mexican Music is a bold intervention in the heart of historic Mérida, Mexico, that establishes a relationship with the surrounding century-old architectural milieu through lightly detailed limestone and dramatic matte-black steel ribs. The design team consisted of four local practices: Alejandro Medina Arquitectura, Reyes Ríos + Larraín arquitectos, Muñoz Arquitectos, and Quesnel Arquitectos.
Mayan structures. Seen from above, the nearly 100,000-square-foot Palace for Mexican Music is organized around a U-shaped courtyard, called the “Patio of Strings,” which faces the rear elevation of the four-century-old Church of the Third Order. A series of newly constructed alleyways rhythmically break the solid stone mass to provide routes of entry between the courtyard and the complex’s library, museum, and concert halls. Mayabtun Marmoles, a local stone supplier, harvested local Yucatán limestone, referred to as Crema Maya or Macedonia Limestone, for the project’s cladding and flooring. The panels, measuring 4 feet by 1.5 feet, are embellished with a polished or hammered finish. Each panel is fastened to the complex’s steel frame with aluminum holding brackets produced by Sistema Masa While the use of local building material is a direct visual nod to the physical character of the Centro Historico, the design team went a step further with the facades' stone and fenestration pattern. The vertical bands of stone are meant to serve as notational bars while the glass panels are notes from the popular Yucatan folk song, Esta Tarde Vi Llover. The 444 matte-black steel ribs are the defining element of the north elevation and courtyard. In both areas, the 30-foot hollow-steel ribs are fastened to an exterior rail that is in turn soldered to a series of corbels that protrude from the floor plates. Corridors within the courtyard are semi-open to the elements, wrapped by a glass balcony and sheltered by the stone-clad steel frame. To shield this area from sunlight, the steel ribs break into two planes, one vertical, the other slanted. For the four-firm team, the design of the Palace for Mexican Music is an attempt to "establish a new precedent for a public building to contribute to the revitalization of its surrounding space" through the use of contextual contemporary design and accessible public space. After a rigorous research and design process, their final execution has achieved that goal.The provincial capital of Mérida is located on the northern edge of the Yucatán Peninsula, a region noted for its distinct Mayan culture, and nearly two-thirds of the city’s population is indigenous. Mérida’s Spanish core consists of a broad range of colonial architecture built of locally sourced limestone, much of it ripped from
Less than two weeks after President Trump signed sweeping 25 percent steel tariffs and 10 percent aluminum tariffs into law, the construction industry is already smarting, according to a report by National Real Estate Investor. Although the tariffs exclude steel coming from Canada and Mexico (at the time of writing), interviews with developers and those in the construction industry suggest that some projects are already seeing steel increase in cost by up to 10 percent. The culprit is speculation about price increases six to twelve months down the line, after the full impact of the tariffs make themselves felt. The panic isn’t without precedent. A 21 percent tariff imposed on imported Canadian timber in November of last year, used in 25 percent of wood-framed projects in the U.S., led to a nationwide rise in construction costs for single and mid-family homes. Contractors were forced to raise their prices, cut back on their use of timber, switch to steel, or change the design of their homes to use less materials. Joe Pecoraro, a project executive at Chicago-based general contractor Skender, told National Real Estate Investor that a client developing affordable housing might be forced to delay their project if steel costs rose any further. “Uncertainty drives people to be very conservative, risk-averse. It is affecting our deals,” said Pecoraro. Ironically, domestic steel fabricators may be hit harder than international firms as a result of the tariffs only targeting raw steel. With costs rising for their raw materials, Engineering News Record has reported that some domestic fabricators have already lost jobs to competitors based in Canada and Mexico. 1.2 million tons of fabricated steel was produced in the U.S. with imported materials in 2017, which went towards building bridges, roads and buildings. Two days before President Trump signed the tariff order, the AIA had released a statement warning that rising material costs would lead to decreased project budgets and potentially stifle architectural innovation. It remains to be seen how the tariffs will affect the country’s building boom in the long term, but those in the steel industry are still onboard.
New tariffs on steel and aluminum proposed by President Donald Trump will have negative effects on the American design and construction industries, American Institute of Architects (AIA) leadership has said in a statement. The Trump administration's plan would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, something that experts say will have wide ranging effects on both trade and the domestic economy. And while the issue is being hotly debated on the national and international stage, the AIA is weighing in with a striking warning that a rise in material costs could mean major losses for the U.S. economy. "The Administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports threatens to drastically increase the prices of many building materials specified by architects. These metal products are some of the largest material inputs in the construction of buildings. Structural metal beams, window frames, mechanical systems and exterior cladding are largely derived from these important metals," AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA, and EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, said in a statement in response to the proposed tariffs. “As creative problem solvers, architects rely on a variety of these materials to achieve functional and performance goals for their clients. Inflating the cost of materials will limit the range of options they can use while adhering to budgetary constraints for a building," they said. "By the same token, the Administration’s proposed infrastructure funding will not achieve the same value if critical materials become more expensive. Furthermore, the potential for a trade war risks other building materials and products. Any move that increases building costs will jeopardize domestic design and the construction industry, which is responsible for billions in U.S. Gross Domestic Product, economic growth, and job creation.”
London's Frieze Art Fair opens a second pavilion by Universal Design Studio after successful 2014 show
The Frieze Art Fair looks to capitalize on the 55,000 people who thronged a pavilion by Universal Design Studio (UDS) last year by commissioning another. The five-day festival is held in Regent’s Park, London every October. Starting in 2003, Frieze London has quickly grown to become one of the world’s foremost art fairs. A New York outpost began in 2012, held each May on Randall’s Island, Manhattan. For the 2015 pavilion, UDS has used the main construction components of Frieze—membrane, steel, board, and aluminum—to create an appropriate temporary structure. New to the fair this year is a Reading Room which offers a diverse selection of art publications and hosts live events. To entice people into the space, Frieze has collaborated with Petersham Nurseries Restaurant for a pop-up cafe and bar on the mezzanine level overlooking the fair. Aside from the gallery spaces, the design team has sought to give these areas purpose and identity, bringing the park into the surrounding vicinity. This was achieved with the help of careful planting by Hattie Fox of Shoreditch-based That Flower Shop. Clever uses of visual framing emphasize views and encourage people walking through the fair to enter various spaces. “We were keen to find ways of bringing the park into the Fair," Jason Holley, a director at UDS, said in a statement. "We achieved this by creating an entrance experience which is in dialogue with the tree canopy, framing and drawing attention to the transition between the Park and Frieze, and through the creation of windows within the restaurant areas that offer glimpses into the park. We are also incorporating planters throughout the Fair which are carefully curated arrangements of plants that directly reference the type of planting found in the park.” “Much of our focus in this respect has been on creating a logical flow around the Fair, with widened aisles, connections and turning points – punctuating the journey with the formation of pause points – moments of change," Hanna Carter-Owers, director at UDS, said in a statement. "The galleries are doing a huge volume of business at the Fair and there needs to be consideration to how people and galleries work within the space.”