ATCS310: Technological Systems II

Performance of Steel Frame Construction

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Course Introduction:

“Technology is far more than a method. It is a world in itself. As a method it is superior in almost every respect. But only where it is left to itself, as in gigantic structures of engineering, there technology reveals its true nature. There it is evident that it is not only a useful means but that it is something that has a meaning and a powerful form -so powerful in fact, that it is not easy to name it. Where technology reaches its real fulfillment it transcends into architecture.”

Mies van der Rohe, From IIT address, 1950

“It is radical and conservative at once. It is radical in accepting the scientific and technological driving and sustaining forces of our time. It has a scientific character, but it is not science. It uses technological means but it is not technology. It is conservative as it is not only concerned with a purpose but also with a meaning, as it is not only concerned with a function but also with an expression. It is conservative as it is based on the eternal laws of architecture: Order, Space, Proportion.”

Mies van der Rohe, From essay on the IIT curriculum

Above two contrasting remarks made by Mies van der Rohe suggest the complex relationship between technology and architecture. Recent technological obsessions fueled by the proliferation of sophisticated structural, environmental and visual computer simulations re-ignited the interest in the realm of building performance. However, without a critical

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understanding of the relationships, these awesome new technologies will limit its potential by merely reaffirming the old functionalist thinking, predicting the predictable.

The intention of ATCS310 is to impart students with an innate understanding of the relationships between structural parameters of steel frame construction and its impact on architectural design decisions through the study of scientific principals and historical development. The primary objective is to provide a sound technical knowledge and vocabulary necessary for future architects and architectural designers to communicate effectively with engineers and contractors. It is also intended to give students an opportunity to begin incorporating technical requirements into to their building design.

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