Terri Meyer Boake
University of Waterloo, Toronto
A node is a point at which lines or pathways intersect or branch—a central or connecting point. Steel has had a major influence in the overall history of the structural design for tall buildings. Diagrid structures have emerged quite recently as an innovative means to marry a potentially efficient structural system with an aesthetically driven design ambition. While many engineering studies on this new system have been motivated to prove material optimization, the architects designing with the system have instead tended to exploit its ability to support a more creative form.
The defining characteristic that joins the engineering and architectural applications of diagrids is the departure from standard orthogonal framing and detailing, the adoption of node type connections, and the avoidance of vertical gravity members in deference to the new diagonal load path system. A clear methodology for approaching the design of steel diagrid towers involves new node type connections, which have become a critical point of innovation in this non orthogonal player.