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limpsed from a half-mile away, the first sight of Triple-S Steel Supply’s new facility in San Antonio is a welcome anomaly amidst the industrial landscape of the former Kelly Air Force Base. The warehouse/office/store complex is also huge, although there’s little surrounding context to give the approaching visitor a sense of scale. Slowly, as the eye distinguishes the vehicles in the parking lot, the visitor begins to comprehend the building’s sheer enormity— looming over a relatively small office/showroom at the front is a 200,000-square-foot warehouse that is 600 feet long by 275 feet wide by 30 feet tall. Here on the city’s southwest side, Triple-S Steel has established a presence that is remarkable not so much for its size but for its design that calls attention to a building unlike anything else around. The design has

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been recognized as innovative by the American Institute of Steel Construction, as well as by this year’s TSA Design Awards jury. The client, a family-owned structural and ornamental steel distribution company, asked Lake/Flato Architects to design an architecturally significant building that would stand out from the pre-engineered steel structures that are common to the area around the decommissioned military airfield, now a commercial enterprise zone. The project required a gigantic scale due to the nine 10-ton horizontal cranes that were to be installed within the warehouse. The cranes operate within the warehouse’s two outer 100-foot-wide segments and its 95-foot-wide middle segment. According to John Grable, FAIA, who was part of the design team, “Functionality and practicality drove the

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Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  
Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2007: Design Awards  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...