Meet the SteelMaster Team: William Swafford

For almost two decades, SteelMaster’s Senior Design Specialist William Swafford has been designing innovative arch-style structures for businesses around the world.

No matter how complex the project, William is always up for the challenge of turning a client’s design concept into reality.

William has been certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate by the US Green Building Council. This training has given him the knowledge base to design efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable buildings that focus on prioritizing the conservation goals of human beings.

The World Resource Company in Taiwan and the Austin Animal Shelter in Texas are two LEED-certified buildings that William had a hand in designing.

See below for some of his most notable SteelMaster projects.

steel quonset style roofing on various commercial buildings

Austin Animal Shelter – Austin, Texas

Two R-Models, 30’W X 15’H X 60’L, Two R-Models 28’W X 10’H X 104’L, Carport, 17.5’W X 9’H X 26’L

The Austin Animal Shelter is a 41,000 sqft facility that has the capacity to serve about 18,000 animals each year.

“This project was an excellent use of our materials and was rewarding work for this honorable cause,” said William.

The architect reached out to SteelMaster with a curved steel building concept and William provided the design consultation necessary to develop those plans into a working project.

“There were so many layers to this design,” William said. “The Austin Animal Shelter is a nice example of how you can continue a form throughout a multi-unit campus. Over the year spent in the development phase of this project, we were able to overcome the many challenges of incorporating the arch-type Quonset structure into traditional rigid frame construction.”

SteelMaster provided the entire finishing system for the buildings’ ceiling, which added beauty and grace to the center’s unique look and feel.

With William’s specific recommendations, SteelMaster was able to offer comprehensive solutions, including a proprietary interior ceiling detail, concealing insulation, electrical conduit, and the fire suppression system.

luxury home with steel q model roofing
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Arc House – East Hampton, New York

T & R Model, 66’W X 18’H X 29’L

Bob Stansel and Tammy Marek worked with world-renowned architect Maziar Behrooz to create their multi-million dollar Quonset Hut Home home, known as the Arc House.

“This was the first of the ultra-high-end projects that garnered a lot of press of recognition and really showed how gorgeous you can make a Quonset hut home with the right vision,” William said. “Our typical “Quonset Dwellers” are looking for a unique and cost-effective solution and are often very budget-conscious.”

The home is over 6,000 SqFt.  The SteelMaster arch system was used for the main living area (approximately 2,000 SqFt) that including the living room, kitchen, and main entrance.

“Incorporating our system into someone else’s design concept as well as creating an interface with the rest of the structure’s more traditional building materials can be quite challenging,” said William.

The Arc house has been wowing onlookers and gaining respect in the architecture community for many years. It has been featured in major publications and has garnered several awards.
“It’s nice to see the work you did get recognized on such a large scale,” William said.

steel roofing over grocery store

H-E-B – Austin, Texas 

R-Model, 181’W X 22’H X 114’L

H-E-B, a San Antonio, Texas-based grocery store chain, prides itself on creating unique designs for each store.

When planning began for the company’s new location in the Mueller neighborhood of Austin, the design team wanted to do something to honor the area’s history as the former site of a major Austin airport. They decided to design a roof reminiscent of an airplane wing.

The SteelMaster panels get their strength from the corrugation as well as radius crimping. When a client wants to make a long straight run, there needs to be structural framing to support the panels.

In this case, they wanted to use huge wooden, Glu-lam beams as the structural members.  This created a sophisticated, modern look and again gave us an opportunity to marry the SteelMaster panels with another more traditional building material.

SteelMaster got the opportunity to do a few similar roof structures at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) a few years later, including the first-ever inverted arch canopy using our panels.

q model quonset building with complete glass front and back ends

Oklahoma City Ballet (formerly AEP Fitness Center) – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

XQ-Model, 99’W X 37’H X 180’L

American Energy Partners came to SteelMaster with one of the most unique requests to date.  They had already designed a large, curved structure and wanted to use our panels as “cladding” to protect from hail and debris during big windstorms.

“This is the first of its kind and a true one-off. Instead of the typical bolted connection, we had to create a solution for installing the panels without access to the underside.  We ended up with a Z-purlin and huge screws,” said William.

After a few years of use, AEP sold the property to the OKC Ballet which houses the professional company’s administrative offices, ballet school, and rehearsal space.

steel roofing on different buildings, arches

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark – Birmingham, Alabama

Q-Model, 50’W X 20’H X 100’L

This $5.7 million, 16,000 sqft center has 12,000 sqft for exhibitions and over $4 million in furnishings.  It is also one of the rarest steel structures in the country.

A classic Quonset structure is half of a circle, and the connection to the footer happens at zero (horizontal plane). The architect on this project had a vision of the circle continuing past zero and turning under to mimic the appearance of a steel culvert pipe.

This project gave us another opportunity to push the limits of design and create a one-of-a-kind project.

“The Sloss Furnace posed many challenges, from tying into the balconies to the huge sidewall openings, to the structural implications of going an additional 20 degrees past zero.  I am really proud of how this one came out,” William said.

quonset arched roofing on stone building

St. John’s Cathedral – New York City, New York

XQ-Model, 56’W X 28’H X 84’L

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is often called St. John the Unfinished because only about two-thirds of the structures have been completed due to several stylistic changes and work interruptions over many decades.

“If you look at an overhead shot of the structure you can see where additions and changes have been made over the years. The area we were looking at was an entrance that was being renovated in the 1980s and was abandoned. There was still scaffold set up from the last remodel,” William said.

The church had recently sold a piece of property adjoining this entrance and as part of the agreement, the church was responsible for completing the renovations and rebuilding the grand entrance.
“When they first contacted me, I was skeptical of the structural integrity of all the very old and very tall stonework that we would need to anchor our system to,” William said.

“This one took a ton of coordination with the engineers and architects to finally settle on rebuilding some of the stonework and incorporating structural steel members to blend the old with the new,” he said. “Over 50 feet in the air, the steel arch against the gothic facade in the heart of New York City is pretty impressive. I am very proud of the end result,” said William.

quonset style building used for commercial business

The Lighthouse Dispensary – Coachella Valley, California

XS-Model, 50’W X 18’H X 65’L

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival purchased five SteelMaster buildings to support various activities at the yearly event, including:

  • VIP Lounge with balconies for attendees to watch outdoor shows
  • Gymnasium
  • Maintenance building
  • Indoor music hall for smaller, late night shows
  • Cannabis dispensary

They are in various stages of completion and so far, The Lighthouse is the only completed structure. The dispensary is most busy during the festival but is open year-round.

This is another great example of how the SteelMaster system can be used as an alternative to conventional retail space.

steel roofing, gas station carport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) – Austin, Texas

R-Model, 152’W X 5’H X 45’L

The design team in charge of the ABIA project approached us for a very specific concept.  They wanted to create a curved roof over a fueling station that mimicked the airport’s logo.

The only problem was the curve turned upward instead of down.  This presented multiple challenges.

“We figured out that we could actually use our flat panels and the gradual curvature of the framing to create the illusion of a clean ‘smile-like’ curve,” William said.

The next challenge was deciding what to do with the rainwater that would collect at the low point.  We were able to develop a drain condition and gutter system that would gather and move the water to proper drains.

SteelMaster was also responsible for the roof systems on the convenience store and market attached.

s model quonset building for commercial use

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott, Arizona

S-Model, 30’W X 19’H X 40’L

“This was another tricky client-driven design.  Embry Riddle is an Aviation school they wanted the new café to have a very aeronautical look and feel,” William said.

The structure is small but has many interesting details, from the “Wing Canopies” to the frameless side opening on the covered outdoor area in the front.

“It’s always cool to be able to conceptualize a client’s idea and have it work out so great,” William said.

various models and qounsent styles for different uses and needs

Perendes Technologies – Cyprus, Greece

Various Models and Sizes

Andreas “Andy” Perendes is a distributor for SteelMaster in Cyprus and Greece. 

Andy’s clientele ranges from small sheds and custom homes to large warehouses and big commercial projects. With over 50 projects completed to date, he is one of our most successful partners.

“We started off with a couple of projects for a few clients in Cyprus, and the next thing you know Andy bought eight structures to create the first SteelMaster outdoor showroom,” William said. “He built one main structure as his office and corporate headquarters, and the others were small examples of all of our models.”

s model quonset building for events

Congaree and Penn – Jacksonville, Florida

S-Model, 40’W X 20’H X 60’L

Congaree and Penn’s farmer and founder Scott Meyer needed a facility for his farm for food processing and manufacturing.

“We started communicating with William and everything seemed to run pretty smoothly throughout the process,” Scott said.

The structure was initially designed for agricultural storage with the intention of converting it later. Over the past 6 years, it has evolved into a restaurant and dining area.

“We ended up adding on an extra 32 feet of arches, which is now used as a covered patio area for dining and events and things like that, Scott said. “Then we built an open-air patio off of the whole building as well.”

q model quonset style building

Hodgdon Powder Co. – Shawnee, Kansas

Q-Model, 30’W X 14’H X 232’L

“This was one of my favorites projects right away,” William said. “The architects were very interesting and wanted to use one of our standard models, rather than creating an expensive custom design.  They had their own metalworking shop and actually built all the furniture for the offices as well as the fencing and canopy steel support structure.”

The initial plan was to construct two long structures side by side, emulating a double-barrel shotgun. That morphed into the three-building design with a custom canopy connecting them and creating a usable outdoor area and entrance.

The structures house the company’s headquarters including offices, a breakroom, and a café as well as locker and shower rooms for the employees leaving the manufacturing facility next door.

quonset style roofing on commercial building

World Resource Corporation – Taiwan

Combination T and Q-Model, 24’W X 24’H X 86’L & Combination T and R-Model, 40’W X 40’H X 204’L

William designed these two structures in Taiwan for the World Resource Corporation’s headquarters (left) and for a separate recycling facility (right).

“The architect on these projects had great ideas and was very easy to work with.  He really liked the idea of using half of the form to create visual interest,” William said.  “The recycling facility used two buildings tied together with a steel structure, creating a green space with a garden and grass between the offices on the second floor.”

Having excellent partners in the design and the contracting end of these projects has been the cornerstone of our success in many foreign markets.

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