Highly Complex Curved Steel Detailing

Steel structures have become an essential part of modern architecture and construction, but not all steel structures are created equal. Complex structures with curved and twisted steel members require specialized expertise to ensure proper detailing and successful field erection.  

Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing has developed several custom Tekla components and plug-ins to represent curved steel structures accurately on two-dimensional drawings. One such plug-in is a table of XYZ coordinates that provides the exact deflection of the element along the length of the piece. This information is crucial for successfully bending a steel element that does not have a constant radius. 

Proper detailing of curved steel elements is tantamount to project success since cambered elements do not allow any margin for error when erecting the structure in the field.  

One prominent example of Anatomic Iron’s curved steel detailing work is the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Costa Mesa, CA. Eight detailers from Anatomic Iron worked on the OCMA project, which was completed in 2021.  

Designed by Morphosis, the new $73-million facility features 25,000 square feet of permanent exhibition space, an increase of nearly 50 percent, as well as 10,000 square feet of multipurpose space. 

The design includes several flowing, irregular structure houses built to provide intimate small art galleries, as well as a rooftop terrace exhibiting sculptural works that can serve as a venue for large-scale events. The building also features a soaring lobby and atrium with a grand staircase at its center.  

The OCMA project received the prestigious Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) National Award from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). 

“The use of steel throughout the building is both obvious and in some ways obfuscated, which told the jury that the architect and the structural engineers really understand the unique qualities and material capabilities of structural steel and found ways to use it to their design advantage–not just as a structural solution, but really more as a way of expressing and hiding the structure to play with the visitor’s ability to understand the building.” 

– Anders Lasater, American Institute of Architects, Contest Judge 

The museum’s innovative and thought-provoking design shows that the building itself is truly a work of art. 

To help ensure the success of your next project involving complex curved steel elements, be sure to contact Anatomic Iron Steel Detailing. Our expertise and state-of-the-art technologies will make sure that all curved and twisting steel members join together flawlessly in the field.