The Banking Hall of the Royal Bank Plaza Toronto
During the development of the philosophy of the design of the Royal Bank Plaza, there emerged the concept of a very special space, excitingly different from the open public plaza, but still a "people place", the term first used to describe what is now called the urban room or banking hall.
Nestled between the diagonal faces of the two triangular towers, the enclosure is completed by frameworks of structural steel tubing whose exposed expression delivers part of the visual stimulus to create the excitement mentioned above.
Each of the phases to completion, from concept through design, fabrication and erection, brought excitement to , and innovative responses from, those to whom these tasks were entrusted.
An architectural scale model was built to study the sun shading effects and the light penetration of the structural lattice work.
The structural steel framing was analyzed as a unit space frame, a task which would have been virtually impracticable without modern computer techniques. Because of the number of joints and elements and the immense data out put generated, a computer program was required to sift the data and reduce it to a manageable arrangement of the essential design information.
A testing program to verify the performance and capacities of the welded tube connections was carried out at McMaster University which ensured the most use of simple welded tube to tube connections without gussets or other visible connection elements.
The erection of the structure included and initiative from the fabricator to build a roof on the ground (113' by 280' in area, weight 350 tons) and to use cable lifting jacks to hoist this huge structure into position at the twelfth floor level. The roof was first lifted to mid-height, the top half of the wall frames were attached and then the assembly was moved up to its final position for the completion of the wall frames. The process required establishing an on-site fabrication facility complete with a travelling overhead crane.
Even before the completion of the architectural infill, the effect was a dramatic statement in structural steel, probably the only so-called common structural material with the strength, flexibility and potential to respond to this unique challenge.