New Millennium Building Systems

7 ways to swing when an architect throws a design curve

Curves, waves, arcs: Steel joists and deck support architectural visions

Architect hand with drawing and shape of building

Steel joists and deck put a twist on these ambitious building projects

When people think of steel buildings, they probably imagine massive warehouses or goliath skyscrapers like One World Trade Center in New York City or Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago. While those buildings and their like are architectural giants—literally and figuratively—steel construction does not mean design ideas need to be kept in a box.

The following seven projects demonstrate how to rise above the straight lines of conventional design and achieve soaring, open spaces. See how special profile steel joists, curved architectural deck with acoustic options, and conventional roof deck achieve architectural visions.

Steel joists and deck make sweet music

Music City Center in Nashville has two notable design elements that feature steel joists and deck: A rolling roof that mimics the hills and valleys of the Tennessee countryside and a grand entryway resembling the shape of an acoustic guitar. The entryway consists of 6 tons of special profile barrel joists that provide the structure its shape and support while the 4-acre roof features type B roof deck. Special profile joists are ideal for unique projects, offering architects more than 40,000 design possibilities.

See photos of this project here.

Music City Center gets its curves from barrels joists that support 1.5-inch type B roof deck.

Design that keeps fliers looking up

Flying has become a routine, almost mundane part of everyday life. Engaging, pleasing airport designs like that of Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina keep things interesting. In one contemporary terminal, a replica of one of the first airplanes hangs from an arched ceiling. The terminal project features N-Dek cellular acoustical, type N roof deck, composite deck and type B roof deck. Together, they create a sleek look while mitigating airport noise.

See photos of this project here.


Charlotte Douglas International Airport features four types of deck to achieve its inviting look.

An industrial art project

In Pearland, Texas, the headquarters for Tool-Flo defies the expectations of industrial design. The 118,000-square-foot facility features two manufacturing bays with soaring, curved ceilings. The aesthetically pleasing look came alive with 110-foot bow-string girders on concrete tilt walls and a dovetail roof deck.

Read more about this project here.

The curved ceiling-roof assemblies inside Tool-Flo manufacturing bays feature 18 total 110-foot bowstring girders (nine per bay) and dovetail roof deck.

Trolley stop canopy is simple, elegant

Impressive steel design can be accomplished on smaller projects too. A canopy over a trolley station in San Diego is made up of a standing seam over coverboard and Versa-Dek® 3.5 LS dovetail roof deck bearing on beams. The canopy protects commuters from the elements and creates an attractive design thanks to the dovetail deck’s exposed clean, linear plank look. Dovetail deck also conceals fastener penetrations.

See photos of this project here.


Appealing to municipalities, Versa-Dek roof deck uses less material to deliver longer performance and less maintenance.

Scaling a mountain of design

Using the nearby Spring Mountains as inspiration, TVSdesign created an eye-catching, undulating roof for the Las Vegas Convention Center’s massive West Hall expansion. The expansion’s signature design feature, the wavy roof is made up of 1,300 tons of 3-inch type N roof deck. Type N deck makes large open spaces possible in large structures such as this, limiting the number of structural supporting members required.

Read the case study.

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

The undulating roof of the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall is made up of 1,300 tons of 3-inch type N roof deck.

Steel and wood bend expectations

Here’s a design that really takes off. At Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina, curved wood beams integrate with cellular acoustical type N roof deck to create an elegant look that controls noise. The cellular acoustic steel roof deck reaches noise reduction coefficients up to .95, greatly reducing ambient noise.

See photos of this project here.

The cellular acoustic steel roof deck reaches noise reduction coefficients up to .95.

Curved wall is a slam dunk

Mountie Arena in Rogers, Arkansas, features a sweeping, curved wall on one side that helped create a unifying look at Rogers High School but complicated installation of the project’s dovetail roof deck. Each deck panel that came in contact with the curve had to be cut in the field to match, a time- and labor-intensive step. The finished look scored, providing a professional-level arena feel.

Read the case study here.

Exterior of Rogers High School

Rogers High School’s arena features 14 super-long-span steel joists that support white acoustic dovetail roof deck.

Learn how to hit the curve

Earn credit and learn the skills that allow you to achieve your architectural vision. New Millennium offers a wide range of courses covering various steel building systems, including steel joists and deck, multi-story design, long-span composite floors, and more. Courses offer AIA/PDH credit and can be presented in live-remote form, on-site or on-demand.

Tool-Flo Exterior


A 118,000-square-foot manufacturing facility defies expectations for industrial design with soaring, curved ceilings.

Las Vegas Convention Center expansion exterior night

Las Vegas Convention Center

Type N roof deck belies its rigid appearance, creating a wavy roof over a massive Las Vegas Convention Center expansion.

Building a better steel experience