Metal in architecture showcase

© Foster + Partners © Foster + Partners


Foster + Partners has revealed designs for the sustainable new headquarters of RMK in Yekaterinburg, one of the world’s leading producers of copper – the project rethinks the conventional cellular office to set new standards in quality, comfort and flexibility. The facade appears to subtly change according to the season and path of the sun – it is made up of triple-glazing and triangular bronze coloured steel panels, which are textured to create a subtle patina. Each 10 x 6m cladding unit spans a two-storey office module. Responding to Yekaterinburg’s high temperature shift between seasons, the balance between solid and glazed areas is designed to maximise low level winter sun, while blocking the heat of direct sunlight during the summer. The triangulated form draws inspiration from the chemical structure of copper, and the top of the building integrates RMK’s new logo – a rebranding which has, in turn, been inspired by the architecture.

© Wicona © Wicona


The refurbishment of a high-rise building at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in Germany features a highly distinctive, award-winning bespoke facade solution from Wicona. The tower was completely stripped back to its original concrete structure, the windows were replaced and the outer walls were created with Wicona curtain walling.  The north elevation features narrow strips of glazing and contrasts with the south elevation which has striking 3D metal facade elements for solar shading. The design was developed by Wicona in conjunction with fabricators Heinrich Würfel Metallbau GmbH and Co Betriebs KG.



3,000 sq m of perforated and embossed aluminium panels from RMIG have been fitted to the exterior and interior of the regional archives in Reims. The coated exterior cladding has a powerful visual impact, creating an optical illusion that helps the large cube-shaped building blend sympathetically into its surroundings. Depending on the weather and light, the colours and appearance of the perforated and embossed facade panels can transform from dark to sparkling, from opaque to transparent, from dull to glossy or from brown to golden, making them as diverse and multi-facetted as the historic archive itself.

LR_Techniker_SomersetHouse_©RichardDavies_05 © Richard Davies


The Miles Staircase for Grade I Listed Somerset House was designed by Eva Jiricna Architects and incorporates treads of highly-engineered fibre reinforced concrete supported on a lattice of stainless steel. The four storey structure has 104 steps and landings fixed together with traditional shear keys modified to accommodate the high forces generated by the spiral form. Moulds were hand-made in northern Italy and the components were cast to close fit. The structural system is based on a conventional scissor stair with additional support from rod suspension systems. The stainless steel newel, manufactured in Newcastle, functions as a vibration damper. Steel supplier for the lattice was Clifford Chapman Metalworks. Structural engineer: Techniker.

© Liz Eve/Fotohaus © Liz Eve/Fotohaus


A leisure centre in Bristol features extensive use of Technal’s aluminium curtain walling. The architectural design of the scheme features large areas of Technal curtain walling to give the impression of ‘invisible walls’ – allowing unobstructed views from the interior looking out on to the landscaped central plaza.  The glazed facades also provide high levels of natural light and a good night time appearance for the building. The slim 50mm profile of the GEODE-MX Visible Grid system met the architects’ requirements for thin sections which were sufficiently robust to carry the heavy glass units, some of which are laminated and toughened, and span up to 2.75m by 2.2m.

© Design International 2014 © Design International 2014


Considered already as an architectural landmark in Marghera, Venice, Nave de Vero is an ultra-modern shopping centre designed by architect Davide Padoa, CEO of Design International and his talented multidisciplinary team. ‘La Nave’ – the ship – makes up part of the complex’s grand main entrance. The tall glass atrium, shaped as a ship and externally enclosed by a steel structure, dramatically emerges out of the building at an angle, welcoming its guests. Metals used include steel and aluminium. The images show a steel lattice; curtain wall system aluminium; a tubular steel structure; a curtain wall system made of aluminium and an enamelled steel soffit.



A Twitter-reactive garden could provide a prototype for the future development of ‘smart’ buildings that can adapt to our emotional state. The structure has been created by academics from the University of Lincoln, UK, taking its inspiration from the University’s Digital Capabilities garden. The STAN (Science Technology Architecture Networks) research project, which involves computer scientists and architects, is exploring whether architecture is able to reflect and map human emotions. The garden consists of an articulating raw steel structure, which sits vertically and horizontally, and is controlled by people’s responses via Twitter. In this way it is continuously revealing what the landscape is covering, while also remodelling itself.

Courtesy of Proteus Engineered Facades Courtesy of Proteus Engineered Facades


A stunning mirror-finish skin of stainless steel is helping to protect the new Broadway Malyan designed purpose-built home of the M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds. It features extensive use of Proteus Engineered Facades’ HR rainscreen cladding system which combines all the benefits of a Modern Method of Construction with the beauty of “bronze”. The £6 million Michael Marks Building on the university’s Western Campus follows the golden rule of architectural design “Form follows function”, combining within the facade the high strength, low maintenance and excellent corrosion resistance of stainless steel with a visually contemporary finish.

© Leslie Jones Architecture © Leslie Jones Architecture


Leslie Jones Architecture chose brass to clad their dramatic geodesic entrance arch at The Moor Market in Sheffield. The beauty and gradual weathering properties of this material naturally complement the exposed timber structure while the arrangement of panels of interlocking triangular shingles expresses the structural geometry of the arch.



The new Chatham Waterfront bus station provides the perfect example of how zinc is the ideal metal for tight curves and complex detailing. VMZINC standing seam canopies and flat lock fascias in pre-weathered QUARTZ-ZINC® were specified by infrastructure specialist D5 Architects.

© SAS International © SAS International


Glasgow’s new 25,000 sq m entertainment destination, SSE Hydro recently won Gold and the ‘Best of Best’ award at the AIS (Association of Interior Specialists) Annual Contractors awards 2014. Foster + Partners specified SAS International’s architectural metalwork and acoustic solutions for the 12,500 capacity auditorium bowl. SAS International worked in collaboration with Foster + Partners on the striking ceiling design, answering the brief for an aesthetic solution which provided acoustic control. SAS International supplied over 600 sq m of its suspended ceiling System 330 for the project and over 900 sq m of architectural metalwork solutions including tubeline and baffles.



Some 1,800 sq m of NedZink Nova was used to create a Proteus HR facade panel system at Imperial Tobacco in Bristol, designed by AWW Inspired Environments