Despite being the third most common element in the Earth’s crust, second only to oxygen and silicon, aluminium, let alone architectural aluminium remained undiscovered in its purest form until about 200 years ago.
Due to its chemically reactive nature, it’s rare to find aluminium as a native specimen. Instead, it occurs naturally as bauxite ore. In the 19th century, chemists perfected the art of extracting pure aluminium from bauxite, and its applications multiplied significantly.
From the railroad industry to the automobile and aviation sectors, aluminium and its alloys helped build some of the most impressive structures in history. Then, in the early 20th century, the architectural world took notice.
Though it took that much time for builders to recognize that aluminium’s strength and durability made excellent construction materials, the rest of the world caught on quickly. By the 1930s, architectural aluminium reached a new peak when it was used to help build the Empire State Building.
Today, this versatile material is present on many different types of buildings, from skyscrapers to sheds. Join us as we take a look at the most recent trends and how they’re shaping the industry as a whole.
One of the strongest new trends surrounding aluminium building materials is its sustainability. Research shows that 84% of homeowners believe it’s important to live in an environmentally friendly or sustainable/green building. Moreover, 85% believe it’s beneficial to their health and 64% will pay more to live in a community that prioritizes green initiatives.
To this end, architectural aluminium continues to be a go-to choice for builders looking to create homes that have a high curb appeal but a low carbon footprint.
Its long lifecycle means that the metal will outlast most of its peers. And, once it reaches its end of life in one spot, it’s easy to recycle and reuse aluminium elsewhere without stripping it of its useful properties. For this reason, it’s an ideal solution not only for new construction but for remodels and retrofits, as well.
While aluminium is already corrosion-resistant, new finishes are trending to make the metal nearly impenetrable. A few of the most common ones on the market include:
- HYCOT M/®
Applying these finishes to any architectural aluminium structure can help improves its longevity and cut down on maintenance and upkeep costs.
Use in Interior Design
It might have an impressive history as an exterior material designed to withstand even the toughest elements. Yet, the future of aluminium architecture might lie indoors.
As the rustic/farmhouse chic design trend continues to grow in popularity, more homeowners than ever before are bringing elements from nature into their living rooms, kitchens, and other shared spaces. They’re also leaning more toward industrial styles than ever before, favouring the clean lines of iron and wood over linens and leather.
One material they’re particularly eyeing? Aluminium.
While the look adds a certain superficial aesthetic, it’s function goes much deeper. Using architectural aluminium indoors helps reduce waste and energy consumption making it more energy-efficient. It also improves thermal insulation.
From the residential to the commercial sector, this look makes it easy to achieve desirable open-concept spaces. Consider, for instance, the growing popularity of open office spaces. Using architectural aluminium extrusions to frame out glass walls and partitions helps make the room feel bigger and gives the illusion a frameless workspace.
New Framework Alternative
The construction sector is rapidly changing, with new methods and technologies adopted every day. As such, builders are on the search for emerging solutions that can put them ahead of the game. One example of such a solution is the aluminium formwork system.
In short, this is a construction system that helps builders create a cast for a building’s concrete structure using panels. Instead of traditional shuttering, they can use architectural aluminium to create this framework. The end result is an extruded aluminium rail that builders can weld to a sheet, then onto a panel.
Appropriate for both high and low constructions, these systems can help improve a building’s quality and efficiency. In addition, the panels can be reused as required and their quick construction times can significantly reduce project turnaround times.
Innovative Door and Window Designs
More and more builders are preferring aluminium windows and doors over any other material. Not only does the metal naturally enhance thermal efficiency, but it also gives a unique look and can accommodate a range of designs.
Regardless of your personal preference, architectural aluminium can be shaped into myriad forms while still maintaining the strength and durability of the frames. It’s also more weather-resistant than traditional wood framing, which helps it stand up against even the harshest elements. This makes it ideal for exterior doors that take the brunt of your home’s impact.
In addition, the material retains its shine with little maintenance. It’s also one of the most cost-effective framing options on the market!
Durable and Dynamic Aluminium Roofing Designs
Steel metal shingles, most commonly made from carbon steel topped with a zinc or zinc/aluminium metallic coating, are growing in popularity due to their anti-corrosive properties and versatility.
While the look might be on-trend now, it’s far from new. In fact, Thomas Jefferson used metal shingles on his home at Monticello. They’ve also been the go-to choice for commercial properties for decades, adorning structures from fast-food restaurants to high-end office buildings.
Yet, today’s shingles are more innovative and efficient than ever before. Now, you can find stamped versions created to look like standard shingles, wood shakes, slate, and even tile. Most recently, designers have created variegated paint coatings that give the shingles multi-hued finishes.
Enhance Your Competitive Edge with Aluminium Architecture
It’s been around for centuries and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
As the years go by, architectural aluminium has become more classic and stately. At the same time, it’s on pace with some of the most transformative and innovative technologies in the industry. It’s this marriage of style and sophistication that will cement it as a go-to building material for years to come.
Are you ready to incorporate this material into your home or workplace? Get an instant quote today.
Here is our Architectural Design Brief Checklist that will help you manage your projects more effectively