The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is pleased to award the inaugural Forge Prize to Jin Young Song, AIA, of Dioinno Architecture and his promising interlocking module system.

AISC established the Forge Prize in 2018 to celebrate innovative architects who create visionary designs that use steel as the primary structural component.

Song and his collaborators received a total of $20,000 to continue the development of their submitted design in a June 7, 2019 event at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas.

Song’s modular project was one of three finalists selected in February. Each of these three teams worked with partner fabricators CAST CONNEX, Metals Fabrication Co., or Owen Steel Co. to further refine their design concepts. Attendees at the event in Las Vegas also heard about a reimagined office tower using cantilevered trusses, which was the brainchild of Jingyu Lee of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and a responsive enclosure for public pools created by Valeria Rybyakova of Perkins Eastman.

About the winning project: SIMS (Snap-Interlock Module System)

Inspired by Konrad Wachsmann’s 1953 proposal for a universal structural element and Le Corbusier’s 1914 “Dom-ino” system, Song and his team created a unit-based ‘part to whole’ system.

SIMS (Snap-Interlock Module System) is a structural module prototype based on the elastic instability of steel, distributing forces through its unique stacked and interlocked configuration. Each module has four hooked legs on the top and bottom and snaps into four legs from four adjacent modules. The five modules are then interlocked as one unit.

Song’s team has created two arch-shaped prototypes using 3D-printed modules. They say further design analysis will be necessary to demonstrate how this ‘part-to-whole’ system can be applied to building structures, facades, substructures, architectural partition walls, and more.


Jin Young Song, Dioinno Architecture

Additional collaborators:

Fabrication Manager: Daniel Vrana, University at Buffalo

Partner fabricator: CAST CONNEX

Structure Analysis: Jongmin Shim, PhD, University at Buffalo; Xiangdong He, University at Buffalo

Student researcher: Michael Gac, University at Buffalo

Structure Consultant: Bonghwan Kim, PE, AIA, LEED AP, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

For more information and images of the winning projects, visit the Forge Prize Winners webpage.