Modern Architecture puts a Twist on Structural Steel

There is an old adage that says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While that may be good advice for many things, it isn’t the type of wisdom that leads to innovation, especially in modern building design.  If you want your building to stand out in a sea of boxy skyscrapers, one surefire method is to quite literally put a twist on the standard idea of what buildings should look like.

The Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers located in Nagoya, Japan are a perfect example.  The structure has three ‘wings’ housing the educational facilities for the city’s fashion design, computer programming, and medical support schools.  The twisting glass and steel spiral is designed to inspire and evoke “the enthusiasm of students from three schools, twining and rising up to the sky then departing to the real world.”  Many interior elements of construction also encourage that flowing, positive spirit as well.  The towers are composed of 3 fan-shaped wings, which spiral upward rotating and decreasing in size on each floor, while the axes of the spirals deviate from the centerline.  If that weren’t impressive enough, another point to keep in mind is that the 36 story building also has some of the highest seismic safety ratings as well built into its design.

The Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers

Another wonderful example of incorporating twisting structural steel into architecture is “VIA”, the pyramid-like development under construction alongside the Hudson River in New York City.  The structure itself will offer over 700 rental residences and amenities, along with 45,000 square feet of retail space.

VIA New York City

The slope of the dramatic building façade required the construction of rolled rectangular tubing with a twist incorporated in the rotation. The radial dimension changes along the face at different points as well, requiring a high attention to individual part design, and checking pieces along the curvature for the proper twist.  In the end, the new building will surely become a visually unique structure in a city known for its iconic skyscrapers.


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