Steel Lintels and the American Palace of Versailles

Can you imagine living in a home larger than the airplane hangar for a 747? Well David and Jackie Siegel are about to finish construction on their 90,000 square foot residence. David Siegel, the billionaire founder of Westgate Resorts, started construction on this mega-mansion in 2004 and after the financial crisis in 2008 had to take a hiatus from funding this build.  The home, which is just now coming to fruition, includes a 30 car garage, 2 movie theaters, and around 800 tons of structural steel.

The American Palace of Versailles

The house is modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France and features a copious amount of windows, around 2000 in fact. To match the Arched French windows and doors highlighted on the French Palace, the architects incorporated numerous French arches into the Florida residence.

When architects are designing a house with this many windows they must keep in mind a key component of construction, the lintels. A lintel is a structural horizontal block that spans the space or opening between two vertical supports. Lintels are not only load-bearing building components, they can also be decorative architectural elements.

Lintels can be made out of a variety of materials. Steel lintels are the most reliable and versatile. When using steel you have the option to use any number of different shapes. The shape and style of a lintel can be manufactured to best suit the building material and window style for your project. Frequently, lintels are made using curved steel angles, or rolled tees.  The design of the Siegel residence called for curved lintels over many of the windows and doors.  These specific lintels were used for structural support and for decorative purposes. The style shown here is made with curved steel and this is just one of many different types of metal lintels that are possible.

Curved Steel Lintel on the American Palace

Arched Lintels are also important for safety purposes.  Brick arches that are installed without lintels can be weakened over time and sometimes even collapse. Nobody wants to be around falling bricks and archways.  So whether you are building a home with 2000 windows or merely 2 windows, you should always consider which type of lintels you are using.


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