AISC IDEAS², Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel, 2013
International Architecture Award, 2012
An Elegant Refueling Station
The solar canopy, along Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Northerly Island, is a public docking station for refueling of electric powered cars, bicycles and scooters.
We provided structural engineering and steel detailing to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for the award-winning 11-foot-tall solar canopy / EV dock consisting of three tons of architecturally exposed structural steel. The prototype, completed in 2010, is composed of a tree-like steel superstructure that can support up to 900 pounds of solar equipment, a 300-square-foot canopy featuring photovoltaic panels, and a subterranean concrete foundation anchoring the structure to the ground.
Utilizing 3D CAD and 3D analysis to design the compound curves in the smallest diameter pipes possible, the structure attained a graceful appearance that limits encroachments on parking spaces.
We minimized bolted connections in favor of welds, contributing to the project’s elegant design.
To further reduce cost and improve quality control, we decreased fieldwork by performing as much of the fabrication in the steel shop as possible.
From concept to working prototype, the solar canopy design was completed in 25 days.
The design allows also for a single, stand-alone unit or for multiple structures to be linked side-by-side.
It can generate enough electricity to power up to 30,000 carbon-free miles per year for two vehicles.