10
Dec
09

Tube Frame

Since 1963, a new structural system of framed tubes appeared. Fazlur Khan and J. Rankine defined the framed tube structure as “a three dimensional space structure composed of three, four, or possibly more frames, braced frames, or shear walls, joined at or near their edges to form a vertical tube-like structural system capable of resisting lateral forces in any direction by cantilevering from the foundation.” Closely spaced interconnected exterior columns form the tube. Horizontal loads (primarily wind) are supported by the structure as a whole. About half the exterior surface is available for windows. Framed tubes allow fewer interior columns, and so create more usable floor space. Where larger openings like garage doors are required, the tube frame must be interrupted, with transfer girders used to maintain structural integrity. Tube-frame construction was first used in the DeWitt-Chestnut Apartment Building, designed by Khan and completed in Chicago in 1963. It was used soon after for the John Hancock Center and in the construction of the World Trade Center. A variation on the tube frame is the bundled tube, which uses several interconnected tube frames. The Willis Tower in Chicago used this design, employing nine tubes of varying height to achieve its distinct appearance.

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