What is the superstructure of a building?

One of the things that make us an architect London clients want to work with is our wealth of knowledge. Our team are true experts, with the right qualifications and experience in various areas. As part of our service we can explain important architectural and structural terms as well as ensuring you have a great design.

Many people ask about the components of a building. There are two basic parts; the substructure and the superstructure. It is relatively easy to spot the difference between the two. The first is any part of the structure that is below ground. This includes foundations. The latter is the part of the building above ground. It can include steelwork, floors, internal and external walls, and more.

Main principles

The superstructure must allow the building to achieve its intended purpose. As a result it must meet several criteria. Most importantly it must be:


If you can design a structure to achieve all of this the building should be fantastic. It will also be more likely to satisfy the needs of its users.

The right design

There are lots of things to think about when you are designing a superstructure. For example you need to ensure the envelope of the building is watertight while also allowing the structure to breathe. It is also important to make sure the internal and external walls can support the load. This is harder as the building gets taller and can require extra supports such as columns and more load bearing internal walls.

Coffey Architects have had the pleasure to work on numerous projects, including large commercial buildings with massive superstructures. Whatever the scale however, we make sure that each superstructure is perfect.


The latest project we are working on is Q1 in Kings Cross. The first part of the superstructure for this new office building was installed on site recently. The steel frame is durable and will therefore support the other materials. While it is still early in the project, the framework gives a rough idea of how the final building will look.

If you want to work with an architect London has many to offer. However, few of them have the creativity and talent that our team does. You can speak to us about your project to see exactly how we can help.