The global pandemic disrupted construction and illustrated many of the AEC industry’s inefficiencies, redundancies, and limitations. This project is for the design of a new, national steel construction innovation center, to be located in the heart of the mid-West, where members of the AEC could research, exhibit, integrate, and teach construction innovations. Explorations at the steel innovation center could include: how to incorporate digital tools such as CAD/CAM processes, robotics, BIM, paperless delivery methods, virtual and augmented reality, and AI? How might steel construction add to sustainability discussions such as future proofing, climate resilience, energy performance, embodied carbon and energy of building materials, and energy generation? How might our buildings ensure the health and wellness of their occupants? How to integrate new building materials and details, assembly techniques, and construction methods?
Steel is an ideal structural system for this building. It allows for large openings, sunlight and easy airflow, flexible layouts, and innovative approaches to services. Steel can be easily modified during the life cycle of a building to accommodate changing requirements. This competition asks students to consider how steel can be used in a resilient manner for a center focused on innovation for the steel and construction industry.