Prototypical Adaptability


To meet the goals of Synthesis and the owner of Growing Power, the main focus of the structural team was developing an adaptable structural system that was capable of being implemented throughout the United States with minimal changes. With this goal in mind, a composite steel superstructure with moment and eccentrically braced frames for lateral resistance was chosen after considering the implications on all of the other design disciplines at Synthesis.

By using a steel super-structure, the building’s architecture was allowed more freedom, with the reduction of columns and imposing structure within the interior space. The larger bay sizes allowed the structural team to eliminate the original column line that ran directly through the gathering space. The EBFs were closely coordinated with the architecture to appear within existing walls when available. When braced frames were not able to be used in areas such as the gathering space, moment frames were implemented to eliminate any obstructions.

With a steel superstructure, the schedule of construction was expedited. The structural design of the building was optimized to created uniform bay sizes with similar member sizes and connections for many of the beams, creating a more constructible building. The building could be constructed faster due to the elimination of curing time of the concrete members. In the greenhouses, a steel structure limited the size of the members to smaller shapes. By doing this, less natural sunlight would be blocked from the crops below, allowing increased production within these spaces.