5 Steel Buildings That Made History

Image by Seabamirum

Image by Seabamirum via Wylio

The benefits of steel as a construction material are endless.

  • Steel has a high strength-to-weight ratio.
  • It is extremely durable.
  • Steel allows for speedy, high-quality builds.
  • With proper maintenance, a steel structure can last decades or more, providing the perfect home for a growing business.

Reflecting on the history of steel, there is one person who truly revolutionized the industry. In 1892, Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Steel Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his system for the efficient, cost-effective mass production of steel led to its wide-use in construction.

The commercial steel buildings we lease and rent today might not exist without Carnegie’s foresight. We still use the same principles of steel construction he developed, and when we design buildings for our clients in Houston, Alberta and Saskatchewan, these principles still influence our designs. Our buildings may not be as iconic as Chicago’s Sears Tower, but because of Carnegie’s innovation, they can last just as long.

To provide a clearer picture of the widespread use of our beloved steel, here are five of the most iconic steel structures from around the world:

1. Walt Disney Concert Hall

In Downtown Los Angeles, this Frank Gehry-designed concert hall is a truly inspiring structure. Completed in 2003, the structure is an excellent example of steel’s use in modern design.

2. New York Times Building

This building might be known for the glass that covers its facade, but the Times Building’s 52 stories are all steel-framed.

3. Seagram Building

Opening in 1958, the Seagram Building in Midtown Manhattan was the most expensive building of its time. Originally, the building’s steel frame was supposed to be visible, but building codes required that the frame be covered in a fire resistant, concrete material.

4. Sears Tower in Chicago

When it was completed in 1973, the steel-framed Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world. Currently, the tower, which was renamed the Willis Tower in 2009, is the second tallest in the U.S.

5. The San Francisco Federal Building

The 18-story Federal Building in San Francisco is covered in a stainless-steel scrim, which is featured prominently from the street below. This building is also a good example of a green building, as the structure wasn’t built with a traditional HVAC system and uses outside airflow to manage cooling.

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