Structure design, 5 things to consider.

Published by Basilio on

The design of structures is essential when projecting the architecture. Advancing in concepts and typologies requires taking risks and proposing structures that are different from the usual models. In this post, 5 items are considered when designing a structure.

earthquake resistance

In seismic zones, earthquakes must be taken into account in the design of structures. This is done by reinforcing the structural elements to withstand torsional stresses. Which occur during earthquakes. One way to protect the structure from twisting is through screens or walls. Which withstand twists better than the pillars.

The case of the metabolic building “capsule tower" from Kishō Kurokawa, located in Japan is an example of a building designed to resist earthquakes, the concept is a central core, which acts as the backbone of the building. Around which the capsules are situated.


The ratio of base to height of a structure is called slenderness. The legal limit in Spain is 1:200. The more slender the structure, the greater its buckling will be, so a structure must have a slenderness that allows it to withstand buckling. Which are assumable or not depending on the materials and the structural configuration itself.

Building "Burj Khalifa”, of the firm Sidmore, is currently the tallest building in the world with 828 meters. The great slenderness of this building was a challenge, since the buckling efforts of the structure, mainly due to the wind, represent a great inconvenience in a single block.

The solution to the problem was to divide the building into several blocks that act as buttresses for a central one, reducing the section of the building as the height increases.

material characteristics

The materials to make the structure must be able to withstand the efforts applied to it, in the projected thicknesses. That is why, depending on the need, more resistant materials must be used when greater efforts must be supported, to avoid having to increase the thickness of the structural elements in an exaggerated way.

Design of structures

Building "time” double tower located in Benidorm, is an example of how the mechanical characteristics of concrete are used to the maximum, to place a union cantilever between the two towers. Obviously, using high resistance concrete in the critical parts.

Disposition of loads

In a structure, one part of the structure is likely to carry more load than another. That is why its bearing capacity must be adjusted to the needs of each part of the structure, this prevents parts of the structure from being dimensioned for loads that they will not support. With the consequent waste of material.

Design of structures

Building white towers, located in Madrid, is one of the most famous in Saenz de Oiza. Oiza's intention was to create a residential and office building, which would develop organically, traversed by elevator cores, stairs and installations. This translates into changes in the center of gravity per floor. To solve this, brace the structure with large load-bearing walls on the façade.

material expansion

Materials change their volume depending on changes in temperature. In the case of concrete, this is problematic, since as it is a hard but not very flexible material, an excess of expansion or retraction causes the piece to exceed the elastic limit and crack. The structural design solution to this problem lies in the joints. Large structures are subdivided by separating with structural joints, which allow them to expand without excessive tensions accumulating.

The dwellings of theArena” on the M-30 (Madrid) was another famous project of Saez de Oiza. It is a large block of social housing rolled up on itself. The concept was to create a protected space from the highway. To do this, he did not build a single structure that would cover the entire project, but rather segmented it into sectors with structural joints. This prevents the structure from suffering excessive stresses, which would crack it, due to the expansions and retractions of the concrete.

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Categories: Engineering


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