Feature Article

Structure as Finish: The Pros and Cons of Leaving Off Layers

March 1, 2000

But due to a sudden leap in construction costs in the region near the completion of design, the project ended up over budget and many of the finishes were either downgraded or removed entirely. Noting that “everything that could readily be removed was eliminated during value engineering,” Berkebile now strives to use finishes that are integral to the structure right from the start.

Berkebile’s creative response to the problem of making functional and aesthetic surfaces integral to the structure is not really new. Many buildings, especially architectural landmarks and high-end custom homes, make a statement by exposing dramatic structural elements. Exposed structures hark back to antiquity and continue today in many indigenous building systems. The elegant simplicity of having one material perform multiple functions still appeals to many designers.