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The DoSeum


San Antonio, TX


104,000 SF

Design Architect


The DoSeum is a children’s museum in San Antonio. The exposed structural steel, bar joist, and tilt wall panels--inside and out--are a part of the museum experience. The tilt wall is the “bones” of the building and many tilt wall panels were left exposed to view on the inside as well. The combination of exposed steel and tilt wall concrete was selected for economics and architectural expression. The project includes 104,000 sq. ft., including the exterior spaces. The building produces 30% of its energy and 98% of its construction waste was recycled.


The colored tilt wall panels set the architectural backdrop for the museum inside and out. The architectural expression for the museum evolves around the tilt wall panels which also serve a major structural role, supporting the second floor and the roof. They also resist the lateral forces on the structure, including elements attached to the building. This allowed for architectural playfulness as all elements are laterally braced. The engineer created elevations for all panels and established a module that was coordinated with the bar joists and the panels so that all embeds missed tilt-up wall joists and maintained a clean visual expression.


The module of the building was established as 6 ft o.c. The floor and roof bar joists were spaced at 6 ft o.c. The typical tilt-up wall panel is 24 ft long which is on the 6 ft module. The bar joist 6 ft module is offset 3 ft from the tilt-up wall 6 ft modules which allows the joist to straddled the joints in the precast panels at 24 ft. This eliminated an awkward support detail for a bar joist at the panel joint. The economics of tilt-up concrete walls was the only way this handsome new museum could be constructed within the owner’s budget.

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