Truss systems employ a planar truss design, often in a hierarchical system that combines element types and tension components. Truss designs vary widely, with an emphasis on fine detailing and craftsmanship. They often involve complex steel fabrications, frequently manufactured to Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) standards. Rod or cable elements may be incorporated into the truss design, and lateral tensile systems are often used to stabilize the facade structure. Simple truss elements can be located at every vertical joint in the glass grid, but are often interspersed with one or two cable trusses in a repeating pattern as a means to lighten the structural profile of the facade.

Vertical trusses serve as the primary structural element at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., with bolt-up horizontals between them. The trusses are hung from above and internally braced with tension rods as a means to reduce their visual mass. An AESS specification places emphasis on the visual quality of steel fabrication.

The truss system at Vanderbilt University’s Eskind Biomedical Library incorporates a rectangular outer chord and bolt-up horizontal to provide a uniform exterior grid of flat steel, designed to high tolerance. This accommodates the continuous support of an inexpensive veneer glazing system, providing optimal economy through a high level integration of structure and glazing systems.

Truss systems such as Vanderbilt University’s Eskind Biomedical Library offer many advantages in long-span facade applications, and combine relatively high transparency with the potential for improved economy.

A custom AESS truss system encloses the lobby of the L.A. Live Tower & Residences