Every Day Uses of Aluminum
In a previous blog, we discussed how the many unique traits of aluminum give the metal a special place in architecture. From high corrosion resistance, to high-strength and lightweight properties, this economical, eco-friendly metal can be rolled or molded into nearly any shape. Surface properties also give aluminum a leg up on the competition by allowing it to be painted and dyed.
Aluminum is a metal that has long been used in the construction industry. It’s so versatile because it can be shaped into any form imaginable with the use of aluminum extrusions.
Here in Part 2 of this blog, we’re going to look at some of the most famous examples of unique structures made possible by aluminum extrusions.
The Empire State Building, constructed in 1930-1932, was the first building to make major use of aluminum components and fabricated structures. So, let’s start with this magnificent, renowned structure.
Empire State Building – New York, New York
One of the most recognizable and iconic buildings ever created, this nearly 90-year-old skyscraper has been an eye-catching piece of the New York skyline with the help of aluminum. Although some of the building is concrete and steel, 730 tons of aluminum were used on the exterior of the building. Aluminum is also found throughout the Empire State Building’s interior, such as:
- A two-story welcome mural, featuring a dedication plaque, clock, and a scaled artistic representation of the building are all made of aluminum.
- Metallic accents on floors and building fixtures.
- A 204-foot TV broadcasting tower that was added after initial construction finished.
Farnborough Airport – United Kingdom
The Farnborough Airport needed to be built quickly and with cost in mind. With the help of aluminum, the project resulted in:
A sleek, modern, and appealing main terminal and aircraft hangar. The flat-rolled sheets of aluminum allowed for a faster setup of stronger structures than traditional brick or concrete.
- An easily-expandable design. Thanks to the materials and the way the building was designed, it can physically expanded upon with ease.
Commerzbank Tower – Frankfurt, Germany
Elevated over the skyline of downtown Frankfurt is the Commerzbank Tower, home to Germany’s second-largest bank. With a focus on modern design and architecture, aluminum aided in creating experimental features, such as:
Sky gardens located throughout the building that allow employees to step outside. The small gardens on outdoor decks improve the beauty of the building, the health of workers, and reduce the building’s ecological impact, allowing more natural light in the building and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
- Heating and cooling systems assisted by aluminum ducts designed to draw from outside air, improving energy efficiency.
With all the features listed above, the Commerzbank Tower was recognized as the world’s first ecological skyscraper.
Tête Carrée – Nice, France
Literally meaning “Square Head” and ultimately, “thinking inside the box,” Tête Carrée is the world’s first inhabited sculpture. Built by Sacha Sosno, a world-renowned French sculptor, the structure features:
A framework made entirely of aluminum. The lower three floors, forming the neck, act as supports for the library offices on the upper four floors.
- An exterior aluminum mesh covering to protect the building. The covering gives the appearance of a smooth, flat surface while giving visitors inside of the building the ability to see through it.
Aluminum Is an Incredible Material
Aluminum has allowed architects to truly think outside the box when it comes to their designs. Without its durable, lightweight properties, some of the buildings we mentioned wouldn’t have been possible.
If you’re feeling inspired to start your own project, don’t be afraid to give us a call at +1 (407) 855-6590, or click here to visit our website and see how we can help make it a reality!