CASTINGS 207: Steel Castings for Timber Construction

Steel and timber hybrid-construction offers designers the ability to leverage the best attributes of both materials for architectural and structural applications. Timber, at its core, is a naturally sourced material that offers warmth to spaces, and steel is a highly recycled material that offers strength and ductility in structural applications. Steel is often used at the connection points in timber structures, where stresses can be high and force flow paths can be complex. The steel casting process enables the design of organic, free-form connectors that are architecturally well suited to for use with timber; a noted warm, organic building material.

This presentation will explore case studies of both standardized “off-the-shelf” castings and custom-designed castings for architecturally exposed timber construction. Case studies will include Vancouver International Airport: Pier D Expansion, the John W. Olver Design Building at UMASS Amherst, and Roy Bickell Public School in Grand Prairie. Several different coating systems and steel-to-timber fastening details will be presented in the context of the case studies. The presentation will also discuss of the use of stainless-steel castings and important considerations when specifying stainless steel material.


  • Identify opportunities for steel castings to improve the aesthetic of connections in timber construction.
  • Discuss key considerations when using structural stainless-steel castings in contrast to typical structural steel castings.
  • Explain the merits of various coating systems for exposed steel castings to project stakeholders and assist in the selection of an appropriate system for a project.
  • Create a specification for custom-designed and standardized “off-the-shelf” castings which successfully communicates architectural and structural design criteria to casting suppliers such that the casting products delivered to the project can safely and efficiently carry structural loads and achieve the desired aesthetics.

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