5 Types of Framed Structures With Examples

Framed structures are essential components of modern engineering and architecture, providing stability, support, and strength to buildings, bridges, and other large structures. These structures are designed to resist external loads and forces while maintaining their integrity. 

A framed structure consists of several interconnected elements, each playing a crucial role in ensuring the overall stability and functionality of the system.

7 Elements of a Framed Structure

  1. Beams:  Horizontal or inclined structural members that transfer loads onto columns 
  2. Columns: Vertical supports that carry loads from beams and slabs and transfer them to the foundation.
  3. Bracing: Diagonal or vertical members that resist lateral forces such as wind or seismic loads and enhance structural stability.
  4. Slab: Horizontal elements of a framed structure that provide a solid platform for occupants and distribute loads to the supporting beams and columns.
  5. Foundation: The lowest part of the framed structure transfers the load from the building to the ground.
  6. Joints and Connections: Crucial for holding the various elements of a framed structure together.
  7. Load Bearing Wall: Contributing to the overall structural integrity, these walls bear vertical loads and transfer them to the foundation, reducing the need for additional columns and beams.

5 Types Of Framed Structures

  1. Steel Frame Structure
  2. Reinforced Concrete Frame Structure
  3. Timber Frame Structure
  4. Composite Frame Structure
  5. Portal Frame Structure

Framed structures encompass a wide range of construction techniques utilizing various materials like steel, concrete, timber, and composites to provide stability and support for buildings and infrastructure. Common types of framed structures include steel frame buildings for skyscrapers, reinforced concrete frames for high-rise structures, and timber frame structures for residential and low-rise applications.

1. Steel Frame Structure

Steel Frame Structure
Steel Frame Structure

A construction method that utilizes steel members, such as beams and columns, to create a stable framework for buildings and other structures is the preferred choice for high-rise buildings and large-span structures.

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)

Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois, USA by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan of SOM
Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois, USA by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan of SOM

Framing Elements Used: Steel beams and columns were employed to create the iconic 108-story skyscraper, completed in 1973, and stood as the tallest building in the world for 25 years.

2. Reinforced Concrete Frame Structure

A construction system that combines the compressive strength of concrete with the tensile strength of steel reinforcement, providing robust support for various buildings and infrastructure.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE by Adrian Smith of SOM
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE by Adrian Smith of SOM

Framing Elements Used: The Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010, features a reinforced concrete core and perimeter walls, spiralling “Y” shaped plan, buttressed core, perimeter columns and flat plate floor construction providing the structural support for its impressive 163 floors.

3. Timber Frame Structure

Timber Frame Structure
Timber Frame Structure

Utilizes wooden beams and columns to create a sustainable and cost-effective building system.

Tamedia Office Building

Tamedia Office Building, Zurich, Switzerland by Shigeru Ban
Tamedia Office Building, Zurich, Switzerland by Shigeru Ban

Framing Elements Used: This eco-friendly building, completed in 2013, uses a combination of laminated timber beams and columns without the use of steel joints and braces to create a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing workspace.

4. Composite Frame Structure

Composite Frame Structure
Composite Frame Structure

These combine different materials, such as steel and concrete, to optimize their respective properties and create efficient and resilient building systems.

Millennium Dome (now The O2 Arena)

Millenium Dome, London, UK by Richard Rogers and Partners
Millenium Dome, London, UK by Richard Rogers and Partners

Framing Elements Used: The dome, completed in 1999, is composed of a steel lattice frame and tensioned fabric membrane, showcasing the versatility of composite structures.

5. Portal Frame Structure

Portal Frame Structure
Portal Frame Structure

A type of framed system with rigid connections that efficiently resists horizontal loads, often used in single-story industrial buildings and warehouses.

Hangar 7

Hangar 7, Salzburg, Austria by Volkmar Burgstaller and Dietmar Kaden of Baumschlager Eberle Architekten
Hangar 7, Salzburg, Austria by Volkmar Burgstaller and Dietmar Kaden of Baumschlager Eberle Architekten

Framing Elements Used: Hangar 7, completed in 2003, is a steel-framed structure with a distinctive curved roof, providing an iconic space for aircraft exhibitions and events.

5. Braced Frame Structure

Braced Frame Structure
Braced Frame Structure

A type of building construction that utilizes diagonal braces to resist lateral forces such as wind or seismic loads.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, USA by Frank Gehry

Framing Elements Used: Completed in 2003, the concert hall features a steel frame with diagonal bracing elements that offer both structural support and visual interest to the iconic design.`

Advantages of Framed Structures

  • Strength and Stability
  • Versatility
  • Large Clear Spans
  • Speed of Construction
  • Lightweight
  • Resistance to Environmental Factors
  • Sustainable Design

Framed structures represent a remarkable achievement in modern engineering and architecture. With versatility in design, cost-effectiveness, and the potential for sustainable solutions, framed structures continue to shape our built environment, offering a strong foundation for innovative and enduring buildings and infrastructure.

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