Using Mechanical Design Software for Challenging Architectural Problems

Written by: Cat McClintock

When the Francis Gregory Library began plans for a new modern library design, the engineers at CST Industries were hired to create a large overhanging canopy to extend above the main glass structure--to create the image of an outdoor pavilion while still providing shade and protection from rain, snow, and ice. Simple, breezy, and elegant.

Francis Gregory library canopy was created with mechanical design software

Developers used mechanical design software for the pavilion-like roof.  Image Payton Chung, via Flickr

Few people would guess such a simple concept required engineers to overcome enormous mechanical design challenges, involving 40-foot cantilever structures and cambered designs that would prevent a sagging appearance.

Improving on the Architects’ Vision

The architects initially planned the structure as a single-welded structure, but this would be too costly and take too long. Using a hub and tube technique, CST created the design concept and incorporated the subtle curves and weather requirements for the canopy.

The roof canopy is also equipped with a louver system, so library staff can adjust fan blades to allow more or less natural sunlight to penetrate through the ceiling, depending on the preferred temperature and time of year. Given the incredible amount of precipitation that can fall on D.C., engineers also had to tweak the angle of the roof to make sure accumulated snow and ice loads could slide safely off.

A Job for Mechanical Design Software

The process wasn’t simple, but using Creo Parametric, including the Creo Advanced Framework Extension (AFX), the CST engineers overcame many design challenges to make the canopy true to customer requirements. Vince and Allison have the details about this extremely complex model, the theoretical twist of each tube, and how CST created uniformity in the bolt pattern of each tube and hub connection.

Are You Using the Right Design Software?

Great product development software helps you overcome design challenges and meet business requirements. Want to find out more about the mechanical design software CST used and how Creo can help you create higher-quality products too? Downloading our free eBook, Top 7 Reasons to Design with Creo.

7 reasons to design with Creo

Tags: CAD

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.