BIM: Design and Fabrication at the Amador Convention Center

Structural Steel Design at the Amador Convention Center

Throughout the design of the Amador Convention Center, RM+ and TLC Engineering worked side by side to develop the structural systems that would achieve the dynamic architectural shapes of the design. The varied architectural design of each building presented unique design challenges. Through our use of BIM, using Revit and Revit Structure, we were able to work through the complex geometries and present solutions that achieved the design much quicker than would have been possible using 2D design methods.


The development of the models from our design models to the fabrication models show some interesting differences in the designs.  The structural steel fabricator, ZHM Engineering, reviewed the design model to look for efficiencies – this could mean changing the shape of the members to simplify connections, revising the shape of a truss to have less tonnage, or switching members’ sizes & shapes that are more readily available to shorten the fabrication schedule.

 Banquet Hall Design

The Banquet Hall’s roofline reflects the wings of the Harpy Eagle in flight, creating waves of movement. In our design model, we had designed the roof trusses to have custom shapes for each wave.  In the ZHM Engineering fabrication model for the Banquet Hall, you can see the slight differences to the trusses; they used an efficient bowstring truss for the base of each truss and then customized the top to create the wave shape.


Performing Arts Theater Design

In the theater, the design of the main rooflines and walls were extremely complex networks of trusses. ZHM developed their fabrication model, and reviewed the steel to make sure that the trusses were as repetitive as possible.  With the number of members necessary, creating efficiencies in the steel sizes and weights was very important for the cost and schedule of the project.


 Exhibition Hall Design

For the Exhibition Hall, the main design challenge was the 65′ cantilever at the end of the building. This sweeping roofline again reflects the soaring movement of the eagle in flight. To pull of this kind of cantilever, our design required a very dense steel structure. In ZHM’s model, they were able to find efficiencies in the cross bracing throughout the roof structure.



Fabrication has begun in ZHM’s factories and the process of delivering the steel from China to Panama is underway.