Building Structure: Underlying Architectonical Duties

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


When experiencing a building's interior or exterior conditions, one may be inclined to 'feel-out' its spatial and volumetric proportions, judge their appropriateness, its quality of formal conditions, its power, its clearness of the structure, and get a sense for the way its architecture was placed onto the site.

It is said that, 'knowledge is key', and knowing how a building is soundly and structurally assembled and seated onto the earth -- is key.

This thought brings to the table an important question, why do we build beautifully sound and monolithic (at times) structural systems then choose to cover them up entirely? In the context of the Washington, D.C.'s current building climate -- why must we build a dense grove of slender wood posts atop concrete plinths only to cover them up in clothing with certain ephemeral stylistic ideas?

Obvious reasons such as insulation and weatherproofing are valid, but thermal barrier technology now allows for exposing the raw architectural elements without sacrificing thermal qualities.

Can we use this technology to our advantage, and if so, how would one begin to conceive of a structural system which celebrates the bearing members in an architectural manner?

Are there ways to interact more directly with the structure itself?

In what manner will the site specific and environmental constraints play a role in making creative architectural decisions? I believe the research conducted in the past year resulted in a truthful approach toward form finding, space making, and respecting the chosen site and its unique constraints.



structure, concrete, multi-family, housing, urban-farming