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Steel Shots: Extra!
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 19, 2010 at 1:37 PM.



As if there weren’t enough Monday morning distractions already, today we’re looking down on the set of Michael Bay’s new movie. (Click to see the scene above in context.)


This doesn’t have anything to do with structural steel fabrication, but we thought you might enjoy seeing it anyway. Filming for the movie Transformers 3 was under way this morning in Chicago just a block east of the AISC offices. Honestly, when I first heard the noise, I thought someone had dropped a huge muffler and was dragging it down Wacker Drive. But a look out the window cleared up that misconception. It looks like a war zone in front of Hotel 71.


One clear indication that they’re about to start filming: flames start erupting from the piles of charred autos. (And then there’s that muffler-dragging sound again.) A couple of times that was followed by the arrival of a surprisingly quiet helicopter overhead, and the appearance of skydivers dropping with amazing precision between the high-rise buildings. I can hardly wait to see how it all turns out.




(Click on the small photo for a larger version.)


To read about the filming over the weekend just across the bridge (including a video clip), check out Chicago Tribune columnist Luis Arroyave’s post here.



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Steel Shots: Steel In Nature
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 16, 2010 at 2:41 PM.



The view from below: A steel walkway 50 ft above the forest floor enables visitors to experience the treetops in a whole new way at Out on a Limb, the elaborate tree canopy walk at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. It includes two expanses of netting that sag intentionally to create “wading pools in the sky,” inviting visitors to sit on the edges and dangle their feet or jump in and roll around. Photo: Paul Warchol. (Click photo to see the view from above.)


Designed by Philadelphia-based Metcalfe Architecture & Design, this 450-ft aerial walkway at the Morris Arboretum purposefully uses steel for both its form and function. In addition to providing a light and open look, prefabricaton of the structural steel off the premises minimized site and tree disturbance.


The project will be featured in the August 2010 issue of Modern Steel Construction, available online August 1.


To learn more about Out on a Limb, go to


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Entries Sought for BIM Awards Program
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 15, 2010 at 10:49 AM.

The annual North America Tekla Structures BIM Awards (formerly Tekla Model Competition) program is now accepting entries. Award categories include:


  • Category 1 – Industrial/Civil Model – Steel and/or Concrete
  • Category 2 – Commercial/Institutional Model – Steel
  • Category 3 – Commercial/Institutional Model – Concrete
  • Category 4 – Collaborative Project


Each participant will receive a special gift and winning projects for each category will receive a Tekla Structures Viewer and two tickets to the 2011 Tekla User Meeting. All North American winners are automatically entered into the Tekla Global BIM Awards.


All Tekla Structures users are encouraged to participate. There is no fee to enter, but projects must be submitted on or before July 23, 2010. For more information from the Tekla website, click here.


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Bridge on a Barge
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM.

New York’s new Willis Avenue Bridge is on the way to its planned August installation across the Harlem River connecting Harlem to the Bronx. The fully assembled 2,400-ton, 350-ft steel span is being barged down the Hudson River from the Port of Coeymans, near Albany, and will replace the 109-year-old original structure.


To see a photo of the new bridge in transit on the online-only Manhattan news site DNAinfo (which stands for Digital Network Associates), click here.


To read more about the project in a recent New York Times article, which also includes photos of the bridge, click here.

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Dual-Wedge Bascule Bridge Construction Under Way
Posted by Alison Trost on July 13, 2010 at 6:07 AM.

Work has begun on the new “Twin Sails” Second Opening bascule bridge between the U.K. cities of Hamworthy and Poole. The bridge was designed by U.K.-based Gifford and features two triangular shaped leaves. Each leaf has pivot bearings on one pier; on the other pier it rests on a single bearing. The overlapping bascule sections join on the diagonal on this 23.4m (77 ft)  span.


To learn more about the bridge and see several interesting views on the Gifford website, click here.


Poole is one of the primary ports along Britain’s southern coast, offering ferry connections across the English Channel to France. For a look at some of the whimsical signage in the area, click here.

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Subconscious Suspension Wins Steel Design Competition
Posted by Alison Trost on July 12, 2010 at 10:10 AM.

Winners have been announce in the tenth annual steel design student competition for the 2009-2010 academic year. Sponsored by AISC and administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the program challenges students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction.


This year’s Category I competition, entitled the Re-Ligare Institute, challenged architecture students to create a space “to step back and become reconnected with themselves, others, and nature.” The building design was to provide a necessary retreat from real-world diseases, promote healing, and foster a reconnection at the individual and collective levels. To read the design requirements on the ACSA website, go to


Will Allport, Nick Barrett and Jason Butz from Clemson University, won first place for designing “Subconscious Suspension.” Daniel Nevin was their faculty sponsor.


Category II competition was the open submission design option and permitted the greatest amount of flexibility. Top honors in this category went to Daniel Cesarz, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for his “Carapace: Enclosing UMW’s School of Freshwater Science.” His faculty sponsors were Gil Snyder and James G Dicker. A list of all the winners is available at


The 2009-10 ACSA/AISC Steel Design Competition book will be published early fall 2010 and will be available online through the ACSA Publications Store at

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Steel Shots: Uh-oh!
Posted by Alison Trost on July 9, 2010 at 10:36 AM.

 Steel Shots: Uh-oh!

Steel is a pretty good material for barriers, like fences and gates that are designed to keep people honest and/or safe. Of course, smaller creatures sometimes require some kind of additional restraint, such as the small policeman standing on the other side. Photo by Jacinda Collins.


Occasionally we forget just how much steel is out there. A sizeable amount gets covered up as buildings are closed in with curtain walls, and as interior spaces are sprayed with fireproofing and sheathed with drywall. But bridge girders and railroad tracks, architecturally exposed beams and columns, and loads of “miscellaneous steel” items remain, right in front of our noses, reminding us of the large role steel plays in American life. Sometimes, however, the artist’s touch helps us see what’s out there in a different light.


Tom Otterson’s public art graces a number U.S. cities, including the New York Transit Authority’s station at 14th Street and 8th Avenue. To see more, visit the galleries on his his website at


Thanks to Jacinda Collins of the AISC Steel Solutions Center for snapping this photo on a spring visit to the Big Apple.

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Nanotechnology Offers Better Way To Coat Steel
Posted by Rob Kinchler on July 8, 2010 at 3:15 PM.

A team of three American companies has been awarded $1.79 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a new way to coat steel faster, cheaper and greener.  Ohio-based MesoCoat Inc. has been chosen as lead on the project and is working with The Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC) and Seattle-based Polythermics LLC to create a new coating technology.  It will use a high-intensity infrared light source to bond nanocomposite metal-ceramic and polymer coatings onto steel surfaces for use in infrastructure projects. The research team is hoping that the process will replace the electroplating, chromate primers, hot-dip galvanizing and fusion-bonded epoxy technologies that are commonplace today.


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SteelDay 2010 Expands North of the Border
Posted by Tom Klemens on July 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM.

AISC has named the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) an International SteelDay Partner. Scheduled this year for September 24, SteelDay has become a worldwide event that encourages architects, engineers, contractors, and specifiers to learn about steel design and construction by visiting steel facilities for free educational programs and networking activities. To read more about this partnership on the AISC website, click here.


More than two dozen SteelDay events are already planned, including facilities in each of the provinces. Visit the CISC SteelDay website page,, to learn about events happening in Canada and how to sign up to host or attend.


For more information on U.S. events as well as links to partner sites and photos and videos from SteelDay 2009, go to


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Steel Joist Institute Standards Open for Review
Posted by Alison Trost on July 7, 2010 at 9:25 AM.

The 2010 drafts of several of the Steel Joist Institute’s standards are available for public review from now until August 15, 2010. The documents are:


  • Standard Specification for Open Web Steel Joists, K-Series and Load Tables
  • Standard Specification for Longspan Steel Joists, LH-Series and Deep Longspan Steel Joists, DLH-Series and Load Tables
  • Standard Specification for Joist Girders
  • Code of Standard Practice for Steel Joists and Joist Girders
  • Standard Specification of Composite Steel Joists CJ-Series
  • Code of Standard Practice for Composite Steel Joists


These specifications are available for download on the SJI website at along with the review forms. Please submit comments using the forms provided online to Robert R. Hackworth, SJI’s managing director, at by August 15, 2010, for consideration. Copies also are available on CD for $25 by calling 434.525.7377.


For more information, visit

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