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CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

Introduction
The conception of new structures is not possible by a direct, mathematical approach of statement
of problem, assembling data and the application of formulae. Conception of a building or
architecture is an imaginative and intuitive process, which requires experience, a lively sense of
structure, the knowledge of behavior of structures for assurance of safety of its occupants.
Undoubtedly, conceivable imagination and sense of structural behavior has to be vivid enough in
the minds of architect when a concept for a building is mooted.
Structure
A structure comprises with number of structural elements interconnected together to create a
continuous load path to transfer loads from the point of application to the ground. Any element
that bears load other than that arising from its self-weight is considered as a structural element.
Imitative structure and authentic structural members that are not load-bearing, even though they
might clearly express their materiality and display standard structural dimensions, are
disregarded.
Sometimes the structure is not exposed but concealed, perhaps hidden within wall cavities,
screened by suspended ceilings or undifferentiated from partition walling. In its fully exposed
state, the raw materiality of structure is visible, be it masonry, concrete, steel or natural timber.
Even if coatings or claddings partially or fully veil structural members and their materiality,
structural form can still play significant and expressive architectural roles.
Safety and serviceability
There are two main requirements of any structure: it must be safe and it must be serviceable.
Safe means that the structure should not collapse either in whole or in part. Serviceable means
that the structure should not deform unduly under the effects of deflection, cracking or vibration.
Safety
A structure must carry the expected loads without collapsing as a whole and without any part of
it collapsing. Safety in this respect depends on two factors:
(1) The loading the structure is designed to carry has been correctly assessed.
(2) The strength of the materials used in the structure is adequate to carry its stresses due to
external loading.
From this it is evident that we need to determine the load on any part of a structure and the
stresses developed within the structure.
Serviceability
A structure must be designed in such a way that it doesnt deflect or crack unduly in use. It is
difficult or impossible to completely eliminate these things the important thing is that the
Page 1 of 7

Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

deflection and cracking are kept within certain limits. It must also be ensured that vibration does
not have an adverse effect on the structure this is particularly important in parts of buildings
containing plant or machinery. If, when you walk across the floor of a building, you feel the floor
deflect or give underneath your feet, it may lead you to be concerned about the integrity of the
structure. Excessive deflection does not necessarily mean that the floor is about to collapse, but
because it may lead to such concerns, deflection must be controlled; in other words, it must be
kept within certain limits. To take another example, if a lintel above a doorway deflects too
much, it may cause warping of the door frame below it and, consequently, the door itself may not
open or close properly.
Cracking is ugly and may or may not be indicative of a structural problem. But it may, in itself,
lead to problems. For example, if cracking occurs on the outside face of a reinforced concrete
wall then rain may penetrate and cause corrosion of the steel reinforcement within the concrete.
Structural Designs
Structural design consists of creation of a structural system comprises with number of structural
elements which will accommodate the aspects of aesthetics, function, services and cost while
safely serving its intended purpose of transmitting loads applied on to it to the ground.
In order to serve the intended purpose of a structure structural system shall satisfy the following
three Ss;
1. Strength to prevent breaking
2. Stiffness to prevent excessive deformations
3. Stability- to prevent collapse
Architectural and Structural Forms
Architectural form is often used but less frequently defined and it is essentially understood as
and limited to enveloping form, or shape.
Structural form is a buildings primary or most visually dominant structural system. While most
buildings have several primary structural systems, some have only one. Library Square,
Vancouver is one such example Moment-resisting frames running at regular intervals across the
plan resist gravity and longitudinal lateral loads, and two perimeter frames resist transverse
lateral loads.

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Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

Forces
Force is an influence, or action, on a body or object which causes or attempts to cause
movement.
For example:

When a man is pushing against a wall he is applying a horizontal force to that wall in
other words, he is attempting to push that wall away from him.
When a man standing on a hard surface. The weight of his body is applying a vertical
(downwards) force on the floor in other words, he is attempting to move the floor
downwards.

Forces can act in any direction, but the direction in which a given force acts is important. You
will know from your studies of mathematics that something that has both magnitude and
direction is called a vector quantity. As force has both magnitude and direction, force is an
example of a vector quantity
Force is measured in units of Newtons (N) or kiloNewtons (kN)
Resolution of Forces
Any force can be represented by two components perpendicular to each other.
Eg: The force F in the below given example can be represented by F sin

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and F Cos

Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

Moments

A moment is a turning effect. A moment always acts about a given point and is either clockwise
or anticlockwise in nature. The moment about a point A (as shown in the above figure ) caused
by a particular force F is defined as the force F multiplied by the perpendicular distance from the
forces line of action to the point.
Units of moment are kN.m or N.mm
Eg: A practical example to explain moment

Page 4 of 7

Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

Concept of Equilibrium
If an object, or a point within a structure, is stationary, we know that forces must balance, as
follows:
(1) Total Upward Force = Total Downward Force ( = ) (i.e Vertical Forces are in
equilibrium)
(2) Total Force to Left = Total Force to Right ( = ) (i.e. Horizontal Forces are in
equilibrium)
(3) Total Clockwise Moment = Total Anticlockwise Moment (i.e Moments are in
equilibrium)
Statically Determinate Structures
Structures are statically determinate when all the internal forces/reactions can be determined
from the equations of statics alone. Otherwise the truss is statically indeterminate which requires
more rigorous analysis to determine internal forces/reactions. As we have three equilibrium
equations, we can use them to solve a problem with up to three unknowns in it. In this context, if
the number of unknowns in a given structure is less than 3 those structures are Statically
Determinate.
Stability of Trusses and Statically Determinacy
In fact, the triangle is the most basic stable structure, Trusses are an assemblage of triangular
structural elements with their ends connected as Pin (i.e. rotations are allowed).
Consider two members connected by a pin joint, as shown in the Fig. (a) of the below given
example. Is this a stable structure? (In other words, is it possible for the two members to move
relative to each other?) As the pin allows the two members to move relative to one another, this
is clearly not a stable structure.
Now, lets add a third member to obtain three members connected by pin joints to form a
triangle, as shown in Fig (b). Is this a stable structure?
Yes, it is because even though the joints are pinned, movement of the three members relative to
each other is not possible. So this is a stable, rigid structure
If we add a fourth member we produce the frame shown in Fig. (c).
Is this a stable structure? No it is not. Even though the triangle within it is stable, the spur
member is free to rotate relative to the triangle, so overall this is not a stable structure.
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Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

Eg: Building a Truss

Consider the frame shown in Fig. (d), which is achieved by adding a fifth member to the
previous frame. This is a stable structure. If you are unsure of this, try to determine which
individual member(s) within the frame can move relative to the rest of the frame. You should see
that none of them can and therefore this is a stable structure. This is why you often see this detail
in structural frames as diagonal bracing, which helps to ensure the overall stability of a
structure.
Lets add yet another member to obtain the frame shown in Fig. (e). Is this a stable structure?
No, it is not. In a similar manner to the frame depicted in Fig. (c), it has a spur member which is
free to rotate relative to the rest of the structure. Adding a further member we can obtain the
frame shown in Fig. (f) and we will see that this is a rigid, or stable, structure.
We could carry on adding number of elements in this manner, but I think you can see that a
certain pattern is emerging. The most basic stable structure is a triangle (Fig. (b)). We can add

Page 6 of 7

Lecture Note 1 by TJJ

CitySchoolofArchitecture

Architecture&StructuresModule

Part1Year1

2013/2014

two members to a triangle to obtain a new triangle. All of the frames that comprise a series of
triangles (Figs (d) and (f)) are stable; the remaining ones, which have spur members, are not.
Lets now see whether we can devise a means of predicting mathematically whether a given
frame is stable or not.
Table : Comparison of the number of elements with the number of joints in a stable structure
Figure
Fig.(a)

m
2

j
3

Is the structure stable?


No

2j-3
3

Is m=2j-3
No

Fig.(b)

Yes

Yes

Fig.(c)
Fig. (d)

4
5

4
4

No
Yes

5
5

No
Yes

Fig. (e)

No

No

Fig.(f)

Yes

Yes

In the Table shown above each of the six frames considered in the example of Building a Truss is
assessed. The letter m represents the number of members in the frame and j represents the
number of joints (note that unconnected free ends of members are also considered as joints).
The column headed Stable structure? merely records whether the frame is stable (Yes) or not
(No). It can be shown that if m = 2j 3 then the structure is stable. If that equation does not
hold, then the structure is not stable. This is borne out by from the above table by comparing the
entries in the column headed Is the structure stable? with those in the column headed Is m = 2j
3?
Internal stability of Trusses A summary
(1) A framework which contains exactly the correct number of members required to keep it
stable is termed a perfect frame. In these cases, m = 2j 3, where m is the number of
members in the frame and j is the number of joints (including free ends). Frames (b), (d)
and (f) in Figure are examples. These structures are Statically Determinate.
(2) A framework having less than the required number of members is unstable and is termed
a mechanism. In these cases, m < 2j 3. Frames (a), (c) and (e) in the above given figure
are examples. In each case, one member of the frame is free to move relative to the
others.
(3) A framework having more than this required number is over-stable and contains
redundant members that could (in theory at least) be removed. These structures are
Statically Indeterminate.
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Lecture Note 1 by TJJ