2011-12 Steel

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) is pleased to announce the twelfth annual steel design student competition for the 2011-2012 academic year. Administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the program is intended to challenge students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction. Steel must be used as the primary structural material and contain at least one space that requires long-span steel structure, with special emphasis placed on innovation in steel design.


The 2011-2012 Steel Design Student Competition will offer architecture students the opportunity to compete in two separate categories.

Category I CULINARY ARTS COLLEGE challenges architecture students to design a Culinary Arts College in an urban setting. Steel construction offers students great benefits in this endeavor, as it is ideal for covering long-spans without sacrificing flexibility and aesthetic lightness, multi-story buildings, quick delivery and assembly in congested urban environments.

Category II OPEN submission design option will permit the greatest amount of flexibility for any building type.

Criteria for the judging of submissions will include: steel as the primary structural material, at least one space that requires long-span steel structure, creative and innovative use of structural steel in the design solution, successful response of the design to its surrounding context, and successful response to basic architectural concepts such as human activity needs, structural integrity, and coherence of architectural vocabulary. 

Culinary Arts College

  • Carol Burns, Taylor & Burns Architects / Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Erleen Hatfield, Buro Happold
  • Gerard Smulevich, Woodbury University
Open Category
  • Ursula Emery McClure, Louisiana State University
  • Seung K. Ra, Oklahoma State University
  • Christine Theodoropoulos, Universtiy of Oregon

Steel should be used as the primary structural material with special emphasis placed on innovation in steel design. Structural steel offers a number of strengths in building design including high resiliency and performance under harsh and difficult conditions, (e.g., earthquakes and hurricanes) and offers the ability to span great distances with slenderness and grace. Steel can be shaped to achieve curved forms and can be erected quickly to meet tough construction schedules under almost any weather condition. Steel can be easily modified to satisfy the life cycle of a building including changing occupant requirements. Steel is the most recycled material in the world. Today structural steel is 97% recycled with the primary source of material being automobiles. It is the environmentally sound choice for a building material. Architects have praised the natural beauty of steel and are excited about exposing it in the design of their structures to emphasize grace, slenderness, strength and transparency of frame.

Membership to AISC is free to university faculty and full time students and AISC membership provides valuable benefits. Information can be found at www.aisc.org/universityprograms under membership. 


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The school membership in ACSA has grown from 10 charter members to over 250 schools in several membership categories. These include full membership for all accredited programs in the United States and government-sanctioned schools in Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation, and affiliate membership for schools for two-year and international programs. Through these schools, over 5,000 architecture faculty are represented. In addition, over 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations and individuals add to the breadth of interest and support of ACSA goals. ACSA provides a major forum for ideas on the leading edge of architectural thought. Issues that will affect the architectural profession in the future are being examined today in ACSA member schools.

AISC, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry in the United States. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural-steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of more than 80 years of service to the steel construction industry providing timely and reliable information.


Steel Competition Program (PDF)