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Diagrid Structural System for High-Rise Buildings

A diagrid, derived from the words “diagonal” and “grid,” is a structural framework constructed using diagonally intersecting metal, concrete, or wooden beams. 

In a diagrid structural system, the beams are arranged in a manner that forms a grid-like pattern of diagonals. These diagonals intersect and connect with each other, providing support and stability to the structure. It allows for efficient load distribution and enhances the overall strength and stiffness of the building. Additionally, it facilitates the construction of complex geometries and curved shapes, making it suitable for modern architectural designs. The diagrid system finds application in various construction projects, particularly those involving large spans and high-rise buildings. 

Components of diagrid structural system

The diagrid structural system consists of several key components that work together to provide structural support and stability to a building. Here are the main components of a diagrid system:

1. Diagonal Members: The diagonal members form the primary structural elements of the diagrid system. These members are inclined and arranged in a crisscross pattern, creating a diagonal grid across the building’s facade.

2. Nodes: Nodes are the connection points where the diagonal members intersect. They are critical for transferring forces between the members and providing structural integrity. Nodes are designed to withstand the shear and axial forces generated by the diagonal members and ensure efficient load transfer throughout the system.

3. Primary Columns: In addition to the diagonal members, diagrid systems often incorporate primary columns that run vertically through the building. These columns provide additional support and stability to the structure. They are typically located at the corners or other strategic points of the building, connecting the diagonal members and providing anchorage to the foundation.

4. Secondary Beams: Secondary beams, also known as ring beams or perimeter beams, are horizontal members that connect the top ends of the diagonal members. They run along the perimeter of each floor and help distribute the loads from the diagrid system to the vertical columns or shear walls. 

5. Foundations: The foundations of a diagrid structural system are responsible for transferring the building loads to the ground. The foundation design should consider the combined loads from the diagonal members, primary columns, and other structural elements. 

6. Bracing Elements: Bracing elements, such as horizontal or vertical bracing members, may be incorporated into the diagrid system to enhance its overall stability. Bracing helps resist lateral forces, such as wind or seismic loads, and minimizes any potential deformation or sway in the structure. 

7. Cladding: In a diagrid system, the cladding is often designed to follow the grid-like pattern of the diagonal members. It provides weather protection, insulation, and contributes to the visual aesthetics of the structure.

Advantages of diagrid structural system

The diagrid structural system offers several advantages that make it an attractive choice for building design. Here are some of the key advantages of using a diagrid structural system:

1. Structural Efficiency: Diagrid structures provide excellent structural efficiency by distributing loads efficiently throughout the building. The inclined diagonal members act as inclined columns, transferring forces to the foundation. This reduces the need for excessive vertical columns or shear walls, allowing for more open and flexible interior spaces.

2. Enhanced Stability: The triangulated pattern formed by the diagonal members in a diagrid system provides inherent stability against lateral forces such as wind and seismic loads. The diagonal bracing effect helps resist deformation and sway, making diagrid structures robust and stable.

3. Reduction in Material Usage: Diagrid systems utilize the material efficiently. The diagonal members follow the load paths, minimizing the need for additional materials and reducing the overall structural weight. This can lead to cost savings and environmental benefits.

4. Architectural Freedom: The diagrid system offers architects greater design freedom compared to conventional structural systems. The unique grid-like pattern of the diagrid can create visually striking and iconic architectural expressions. The open and uninterrupted spaces achieved with diagrid structures allow for innovative and flexible interior layouts.

5. Structural Aesthetics: The diagrid structural system adds a distinctive and aesthetically pleasing element to the building’s facade. The diagonal pattern creates a visually appealing architectural feature that stands out from conventional vertical and horizontal structures. Diagrids can contribute to the overall architectural identity and create a sense of elegance and sophistication.

6. Constructability: Diagrid systems can be fabricated off-site, allowing for faster construction and reduced on-site labor requirements. The repetitive nature of the diagrid elements simplifies fabrication and assembly processes. The use of prefabricated components and standardized connections can enhance construction efficiency and quality.

7. Adaptability to Irregular Shapes: Diagrid structures can easily accommodate irregular or complex building shapes. The diagonal members can be tailored to follow the curves or irregular outlines of the building, providing structural support while maintaining design coherence.

8. Flexibility for Mixed-Use Buildings: Diagrid structures are well-suited for mixed-use buildings that require a combination of different functions, such as residential, commercial, and public spaces. The open floor plans and minimized structural elements facilitate the integration of diverse functions within the same building.

Materials used for diagrid structural system

The diagrid structural system can be constructed using various materials, depending on factors such as the design requirements, building height, budget, and structural considerations. Here are some of the common materials used in diagrid systems:

1. Steel: Steel is a popular material choice for diagrid systems due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, ductility, and versatility. Steel diagonal members offer excellent load-bearing capacity and allow for precise fabrication and construction. Steel diagrids are often used in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.

2. Reinforced Concrete: Reinforced concrete can also be used for diagrid structures, particularly in buildings with lower to medium heights. Concrete diagrids provide structural stability, durability, and fire resistance. The diagonal members are typically formed using reinforced concrete beams or walls that are cast on-site or precast and then connected at the nodes. Reinforced concrete diagrids are commonly found in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings.

3. Composite Materials: Composite materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP), are emerging as alternative options for diagrid systems. FRP composites offer high strength, light weight, and corrosion resistance. They can be manufactured in various shapes and sizes, allowing for flexible and innovative diagrid designs.

4. Timber: Timber offers a good strength-to-weight ratio and can be fabricated into complex shapes. Diagrid structures made of engineered timber or laminated timber elements are commonly used in low to medium-rise buildings, including residential and cultural facilities.

Types of diagrid structural system

1. Triangular Diagrid: This type of diagrid system forms a triangular grid pattern on the building’s facade. The diagonal members intersect at nodes, creating a triangular framework. Triangular diagrids are commonly used in high-rise buildings and can provide excellent structural stability and visual aesthetics.

2. Hexagonal Diagrid: Hexagonal diagrids utilize a grid pattern of diagonal members that form hexagonal shapes. The diagonal members intersect at nodes, creating a strong and visually appealing framework. Hexagonal diagrids are often employed in buildings with complex geometries, allowing for efficient load distribution and architectural flexibility.

3. Square/Rectangular Diagrid: In this type of diagrid system, the diagonal members form a square or rectangular grid pattern. The diagonal members intersect at nodes, creating a regular grid structure. Square/rectangular diagrids are versatile and can be applied to a wide range of building types, providing structural efficiency and architectural expression.

4. Curved Diagrid: Curved diagrids involve diagonal members that follow curved or circular paths. This type of diagrid system is often employed in buildings with curved or organic shapes. Curved diagrids offer both structural stability and aesthetic appeal, contributing to unique and eye-catching architectural designs.

5. Hybrid Diagrid: Hybrid diagrid systems combine the diagrid concept with other structural systems. For example, a building may incorporate a diagrid system on specific facades or portions, while other areas use conventional structural systems such as beams and columns. Hybrid diagrids allow for customized solutions that balance structural efficiency, architectural aesthetics, and construction practicality.

Types of diagrid structural system

Diagrid structural systems in India

The diagrid structural system has gained popularity in India as a design solution for high-rise buildings. Several notable projects featuring diagrid structures have been constructed or are in progress in different parts of the country. Here are a few examples:

1. The Imperial Tower, Mumbai: This residential skyscraper in Mumbai showcases a diagrid structural system. Designed by Hafeez Contractor, the tower features a distinctive exterior with diagonally inclined columns that form a grid-like pattern. 

2. Palais Royale, Mumbai: Another prominent diagrid structure in Mumbai is the Palais Royale, designed by Talati & Panthaky Associated (TPA). This luxury residential tower features a diagrid system that not only provides structural support but also allows for larger column-free spaces and panoramic views. 

3. Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, Mathura: One of the tallest temple structures in the world, the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir in Mathura incorporates a diagrid structural system. Designed by InGenious Studio, the temple’s outer shell is formed by a complex network of diagonally inclined steel columns. 

4. Wave One, Noida: Wave One, located in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, is a commercial tower that utilizes a diagrid structure. Designed by Sekhar & Associates, the building features a triangular diagrid pattern that provides both structural stability and a visually appealing facade.

5. One Avighna Park, Mumbai: One Avighna Park is a luxury residential project in Mumbai that incorporates a diagrid system. Designed by Hafeez Contractor, the tower’s diagrid structure not only serves as a structural framework but also adds a unique architectural character to the building.

Diagrid structural systems in India

These are just a few examples of diagrid structural systems in India. The use of diagrid systems in Indian architecture highlights the growing trend towards innovative structural designs that combine aesthetics with structural efficiency.


Implementing a diagrid system requires thorough building and load analysis, careful material selection, detailed connection design, and collaboration between architects and structural engineers. With its efficient load distribution, stability, aesthetic appeal, and adaptability, the diagrid structural system has become a popular choice in contemporary architecture. In an upcoming article, we will discuss about other types of structural systems for high rise buildings.


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