Solving Structural Puzzles: The Life of an Architectural Structural Specialist

While engineers have dreamt up the world’s most innovative building designs, without specialist to implement them, we’d never have the impressive skylines and breathtaking cityscapes we admire.

Samsung C&T has helped shape some of those skylines with buildings like Taipei 101, the Burj Khalifa, and the Petronas Towers. But taking those buildings from blueprint to finished product is no easy task, and the road to completion is often rife with engineering and structural problems. This is where the architectural structural specialists come in to save the day.

Problem Solver

Minsu Na has never been one to shy away from a challenge. That’s what has made him a great architectural structural specialist for Samsung C&T. Whenever design demands meet technical challenges, he’s there to forge a solution. It’s been a natural fit since he first started working in construction.

“When there was a problem, it would take time for our technical team at headquarters to give us advice. I thought, why shouldn’t I solve the problem myself?”

Na’s skill as a problem solver has earned him an impressive portfolio, including the Transportation Center of Incheon International Airport and large scale residential buildings. But filling the role is no easy task. It has taken Na several years of multidisciplinary training and on-the-job experience to cultivate his expertise.  

The Renaissance Man

Na’s career with Samsung C&T stretches almost 30 years, having joined the company in 1989. Prior to becoming an architectural structural specialist, he spent years studying a number of related fields. Starting with a degree in architectural engineering, he later earned a certificate in structural engineering while working on construction sites.

“Normal knowledge of construction and structural engineering is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Na.” I believe that the knowledge of related fields is essential in becoming a true specialist which is why I challenged myself to have a broad understanding of various fields as an architectural engineer.”

Combining his education with hands-on experience has allowed Na to really develop.

“With experience in the field, it is possible to learn things that you can’t learn in the design office. That is how I was able to acquire two certifications.”

Putting it all Together

With all his experience, Na has become a major asset on Samsung C&T’s construction sites. Hard work and long hours have become some of his fondest memories, like when he was pulling night shifts and long hours to solve problems at Incheon Airport.

“We were pressed for time constructing the Great Hall, a dome-shaped, irregular slab structure with a jewel on top,” he recalls. “At that time, while I was working on the night shift, I saw the first passenger with a carrier pass by. That’s why I think it was memorable.”

His training has also come in handy on residential projects like the parking lot of an apartment in the Gongdeok neighborhood of Seoul where the ground structure presented a problem.

“I pondered, and finally decided to use a partial ‘top-down’ method, which starts by placing plunge columns and stopping excavation work that might cause soil displacements,” he says. “At that time, we had a lot of trouble due to the ground, which made it more meaningful to finally solve this problem with an idea that I came up with.”

Does Na’s story have you interested in becoming an architectural structural specialist? Take a look at the infographic below for information on how to get started.

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