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Whenever there is an option to combine structure with architectural design, structural engineers get excited!  Typically our structure is hidden within walls or covered by drywall.  In our opinion there is nothing more elegant than exposed structure, especially structural steel.  So naturally we jumped at the chance to used exposed structural steel cables in our design of the Cargil Residence with Rodwin Architecture.


Most conventional wood framed buildings take advantage of continuous foundation walls, sheathed stud walls and steel hold-downs to brace the building against lateral loading and overturning, (see our post on “Seismic and Wind Resistant Construction“).  When the building cantilevers off its foundation or is supported by independent vertical columns, a different system must be engineered to brace the building against lateral forces and resist overturning.


The lateral force resistance system at the end of this building consists of steel tension cables fastened between vertical wood columns.  Steel brackets at both the top and the bottom of the wood columns were carefully detailed to connect the cables to the wood columns and transfer the vertical and horizontal forces from the floor diaphragm above to the foundation below.  Below each column is an individual concrete pedestal and footing which supports the vertically loads and resists overturning of the structure.


All successful buildings are the creation of a good design team.  We were fortunate to work with Rodwin Architecture and SkyCastle Homes on this project.  Just because a design works on paper doesn’t mean it is feasible in the field.  We all worked hard on this project to meet the architectural objectives while at the same time meeting a tight budget and difficult site constraints.

If you have any other questions about how to build or design with wood, steel or concrete visit the Wood Framed Construction, Structural Steel and Reinforced Concrete categories of our blog.  Or if you have a difficult and intricate design problem, feel free to contact us.  We will help you determine a safe, economical and aesthetic solution.