Understand the Architecture Design and Structure: know the types and difference between each

In our previous blogs, we have talked about the grey structure and its significance. We have discussed various vital information that would assist you in making an informed decision in the future. Now Understand the Architecture Design and Structure: know the types and difference between each.

Types of structure:

Today, we would like to shed the light on the different types of structures that needs constructing. There are various forms of structure that are constructed in construction industry. Some are commonly used but each of them has characteristics that make them distinctive based on many factors. Such as their application, criteria, material, load bearing capacity, architectural style and categorization etc.

Following are some of the structures that are known universally and chosen as per the requirement of the project or on individual preferences:

Framed Structures
Load-Bearing Structures
Shell Structures
Frame and Panel Structures
Tensile Structures
Composite Structures
Truss Structures
Space Frame Structures
Suspension Structures
Cantilever Structures

Detailed elaboration:

1: Framed structure:

A framed structure is the type of structural building that bears the load in the form of its beams, columns and braces. A rigid framework is formed that holds up the building together. Its purpose is to send the load to the base and evenly distribute the loads to the foundation.


This type of structural framework provides stability and strength to the building. Due to even distribution of load, this type of structure is able to withhold the outside forces such as wind, earthquakes and live loads etc. Framed structures have a wide spread use in some of the following projects:

High-rise building
Multi story residential and commercial buildings
Elevated roadway structures
Industrial facilities like factories and warehouses etc


It provides the structural stability and support equally.
It is able to withstand heavy loads and resist deformation.
It allows the versatile architectural design and internal layouts.

It is adjustable according to the size, space and arrangement of beams and columns.
It is flexible and allows maximum usage of space.
Its standardized method is user friendly, pocket friendly and time centric.


It requires intricate engineering for equal distribution of load.
It gets complex to maintain the structural integrity as the magnitude of the project rises such as industrial or warehouses etc.
The material cost for this type of structure could be costly compared to other techniques for steel or reinforced concrete etc.
This type of a structure requires regular maintenance to prevent issues such as corrosion or fatigue in structural elements etc.
The room for error is next to none or else the whole structure would be unstable.
The bigger the project, the more the cost for it along with the hired professional fee.

2: Load-bearing Structure:

It is the type of a structure in which the building’s weight is supported by various forms such as load bearing walls, columns, arches, vaults or any other form of “weight divider”. In this type of structure, the load is directed towards the foundation. The supporting elements of this type of structure is able to carry out the weigh in vertical as well as in horizontal manner. The purpose is to provide the support and stability to entire building structure.


Load bearing structures have significance in construction industry because of many reasons. Some of these reasons being that because of its simplicity, space efficiency, cost effectiveness and durability. These types of structures are used in the following manners:

Traditional houses
Residential buildings
Historical or heritage buildings
Low-rise educational buildings
Institutional buildings
Small commercial buildings such as offices or shops etc


These types of structures are often straight forward and simple
It is suitable for small scale buildings
It is better suited for buildings with minimal designs and no complex details
This type of structure can minimize the internal space without any supporting beams or columns
It provides flexibility in interior layouts and maximum space functionality.
It requires fewer labor and material hence making it less costly.
It provides stability and durability in buildings where the less distribution of load is required.


It imposes limitations to architectural designs and structural flexibility.
Not suitable for large scale projects or buildings that have complex structural requirement due.
Such type of structures is limited in height hence making it less suitable for tall building structures.
Making any changes, altering or adding any additional space like openings can be challenging in such type of structures.
It requires careful analysis of the building to ensure its load bearing system.
They can support only limited amount of load.
No beams or columns might make up for more space but possibility for human error is always there for load bearing analysis.

3: Shell Structures:

These types of structures have a thin and bend-able surface. The purpose of such type of surface is to act as its surrounding and well as its load bearing part. Shell structures are often shaped in geometrical forms. These are strong in nature and spreads the load evenly across the whole surface of the building. Shell structures tend to have domes, vaults, thin-shell roofs and entire shell buildings etc. Shell structures are made from different materials depending on a project’s requirement such as concrete, steel or reinforced plastic etc.


Shell structures are known to have its significance because of various reasons but some of it are its structural efficiency, architectural freedom, large span capabilities and aesthetic appeal etc. Following are some of the projects where shell structures are preferred:

Sports arenas
Exhibition halls
Convention centers
Airport terminals
Religious buildings such as churches and mosques
Industrial structures such as silos and storage tanks etc.


Its curved geometry allows the load to be distributed evenly.
It has high strength for load bearing.
Its material usage is less compared to other structural designs.
It allows the architectures and designers the freedom for their creativity.
It results often in unique and visually striking buildings in its most organic of forms.
It can have large span distancing without any supporting element involved.
Its most suitable for open plan and large plan spaces.
Often end up becoming the visual landmark hence enhancing the appeal of its surrounding.


The structure is more complex and labor intensive.
It requires specialized engineers and experts to execute with precision hence making it exclusive.
Vast number of constructional techniques are used which can be complex.
Can be limited in terms of any future modifications or alterations because of its structural design’s complexity.
It involves higher initial construction cost compared to conventional structures.
It can get extremely costly for a large scale project because of its unique design.
Maintaining and repairing shell structures is extremely costly.
Their curved surfaces require specialized construction techniques, expertise and equipment etc.

4: Frame and Panel Structures:

This type of structure is where frame elements and panel components are combined to create a building’s framework. In this type of construction, the load is distributed and bore by vertical posts such as studs and horizontal beams such as rails. Additional material made of wood, metal glass or composite fill in the spaces between the panels and frames to provide enclosure and much needed support to the building. This type of structure is a power duo balance between structural integrity and architectural flexibility.


Frame and panel structures are significant for various reasons. Some of the reasons that give it its due popularity are its structural integrity, Architectural flexibility, insulation and energy efficiency and speed of construction etc. Following are the real-life projects that consist of frame and panel structures:

Residential buildings
Commercial buildings
retail stores
Educational and institutional buildings
Industrial facilities such as warehouses and manufacturing plants etc.


It provides robust structural integrity to buildings to withstand various loads.
It provides the vigorous support against the environmental factors.
It caters to versatile architectural designs and style.
It provides the room for functionality with the blend of esthetic appeal.
Such type of structure incorporates the insulation materials thus enhancing the thermal efficiency of structure.
It contributes to cutting down the heating and cooling cost of the structure.
Hence it is pre-fabricated, it can enhance the timeline process it takes for completion.
It has potentially low labor cost than the traditional structures.


It involves higher initial cost compared to traditional structures.
The panels are often custom design or specialized, which can be expensive.
It may require maintenance from time to time depending upon the material used for panels.
The said maintenance may cost more or less depending on the rates of material at the time.
There is limitation to design complexity.
Structural modifications compared to traditional structure is would be more customized in nature.
Compatibility between frame elements and panel component has to be ensure to be proper fit for the longevity of the building.
The said materials should be considered carefully by keeping the future wear and tear possibilities in mind.

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