When architects are designing a building, they need to consider aspects such as safety, functionality, thermal efficiency and sustainability, as well as meeting their client’s needs. Supposedly first used in New York’s Empire State Building, aluminium has been used for innovative architecture since the 1930s for its strength, durability, ease of use and lightweightedness, especially compared to steel. Because aluminium is lightweight but also innately strong, it provides flexibility for architects to achieve complex layouts while still offering required structural stability.
What’s more, aluminium helps architects meet sustainable and economical initiatives: CAB currently collect and recycle 95% of metal products used in buildings when they are being renovated or demolished, stating that aluminium recycling provides energy savings of 95% compared to primary production.
We reached out to 5 well known architectural practices to hear directly from them on why they use aluminium for their fenestration projects.
Yvonne Gibbs, Architect, Powell Dobson
“Expanses of glazing held up with structurally strong but slender aluminium profiles have helped us create buildings that are transparent as possible to express scale.”
Vejay Lal, Architect, Unit One Architects
“Aluminium window and door profiles are the future of high-end design-led projects. uPVC is just too bulky, and timber - although dramatically improved over the years - still puts off clients because of the perceived long-term maintenance issues. For me, the images of aluminium profiles speak for themselves - they are sharp, crisp, innovative, flexible and modern; everything we are looking for in a glazing framing system.”
Sundas Rohilla, Architect and Designer, SEH
“As a material, aluminium is lightweight and robust, which allows me to design and create light, yet exceptionally stable structures with curtain walling, for instance. Aesthetically speaking, using aluminium means we can provide clients with a wide variety of bespoke surface finishes and colours, unlike other materials.”
Robert McBride, Architectural Technologist, studio: MASS
“The strength of aluminium allows for slim profiles that traditional window materials such as uPVC and timber struggle to compete with. Combining that, the energy efficiency and the fact that profiles can be finished in virtually any RAL colour means we can specify aluminium fenestration to meet almost any design brief.”
Justin Kelly, Partner, bptw partnership
“As a framing material, it [aluminium] helps us create strong architectural features that define developments and show them in a new light. The thermal performance of modern high quality aluminium systems meet the energy targets for almost all building types; a plus for sustainability and efficiency.”