Dear PoPville – Why are some of the Support Beams at an Angle?


“Dear PoPville,

This was taken across from the Kaiser building on 2nd Street NE – it’s a new apartment building being constructed. Two of the pillars look very off. Maybe it’s intentional, but caught my eye…”

I think we talked about this once before on another building getting constructed – doesn’t it have to do with being able to bear more weight or something like that? Anyone remember?

12 Comment

  • lateral stability. imagine a square stood up on one end and push it sideways. easy to push it over. now imagine a similar triangle. not so easy. the angles allow the triangle to resist lateral pressure.

  • Probably just simple mistake, wouldn’t worry about it – there are plenty of other beams, right? (But more seriously, it’s to help spread the vertical load – similar concept to why triangles are generally stronger than squares.)

  • There is absolute no chance this is a mistake!! If you notice the alignment of the beam changes from the first floor to the 3rd floor, most likely they need the columns to be laid out differently because of different floor plan uses. The sloping column allows for the layout of the beam to change and still carry the load of the building down the columns and into the foundations

  • Its an optical illusion.

  • Any excuse to bring up Trader Joe’s, eh PoP? 🙂 We discussed this with the left most support beam during the Louis building construction which is now supporting the entrance to the Trader Joe’s parking garage. I don’t have the link handy but many commenters noted that it is intended to improve structural stability.

  • Oops, looks like the work of slanty pete, the concrete forman who’s right foot is 2 inches shorter than his left. He’s been screwing up buildings for years.
    There are a number of forces that go into the structural engineering design calculations for buildings. Not just the dead load of material, but live loads of people, snow, lateral wind loads, seismic loads, etc. Despite many of the explanations stated here (increase lateral support, required for layout, facade, etc), which are most likely the correct reasons, rest assured the engineer has designed these columns specifically for the building conditions.

    • …and from this day forward the phrase “slanty pete” shall officially enter my lexicon. thank you sir (or madam)

      tho I do believe it is his leg that is shorter, not the foot. 😉

  • columns need to stack on top of each other… obvious. Not all uses of a space work well with the same column grid. Not all designs work with a regular column grid. Maybe the first floor retail has a different façade, maybe a garage entrance requires a larger gap in column grid. yada yada yada So angled columns such as these allow for the column grid not to stack directly on top of each other for numerous reasons

  • A and D! And yes I’d love for more gay bars and clubs to move into the city! We are the gayest city in the country after all (according to NYT)

Comments are closed.