Structural Elements

Sometimes designers seem afraid of columns, that they are something to always hide with shame. Sometimes it’s right to hide them. But as designers we need to be able to design with the whole pallet of elements to create colonnades, cloisters or porches. It would be like a painter being afraid of using blue or a film maker always avoiding sound.

So this hopefully this makes it easier to see the full pallet and when you can be strategic to use an element to do more than one job.

When an element does do more than one job, I’ve tried to highlight what generally governs its design the most; a cantilever column does act vertically, but its design is normally governed by stability.

Thank you Fiona Cobb and Steve Branch for a great discussion about pier foundations and whether they are just pads that come out of the ground or columns in the ground. Working with Barbara Jones I think they are their own category and interesting to work with.

Thank you Andrew Sides and Shumi Bose for always looking at drafts of this and giving great feedback.