STRUCTURE: Main Structure consists of Steel with Reinforced Concrete, Basement level is made of Partially Steel-framed Reinforced Concrete Piling, Standard Concrete Piles at the Foundation.

Innovative Facades in Stainless Steel

This issues looks at the various applications of stainless steel in the façade of contemporary structures. The material is being used by architects across the entire gamut of structures – ranging from private holiday homes to universities to skyscrapers. What is it that has enabled this seemingly conventional building material make a comeback? We share this excerpt from Euro Inox’s report titled, ‘Innovative Facades in Stainless Steel’ to throw some light on the subject.

Stainless steel started to be used in the building industry just a few years after is its invention about 100 years ago. The first time was in 1929, on the Chrysler Building in New York, whose apex is still adorned by 4,500 large format stainless steel tiles. Stainless steel facades are also popular with the designers and clients of new skyscrapers, such as the Pertonas Towers in Kuala Lumpur or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest building. It was at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France I Paris in 1992 that the success story of woven stainless steel began.

Nebuta-no-ie Warasse by Molo, d/dt & Frank La Riviere Architects, in Aomori, Japan, is home to the Nebuta festival celebrations in August, every year. The building is located in front of Aomori train station, where the city meets the sea. A screen of twelve meter tall steel ribbons wraps the whole building and encloses an outdoor walkway – a threshold between the mythical world of Nebuta and the contemporary city. Each ribbon is twisted and bended to form openings for light, views and passageways.

For a long time, stainless steel was mainly reserved for the facades of large, eminent buildings. It is the prestige – less often the technical – image of the material that has undergone a significant transformation in recent years.

New developments in processing and fabrication plus the growing importance of sustainable design are helping to increase the popularity of stainless steel facades – for smaller structures, too.Remarkable examples are to be found not only in new build projects, but also in the refurbishment of and extensions to buildings. The combination with concrete, masonry, timber or coated sheet steel results in new design options. Stainless steel is also a good choice for façade structures with technical functions such as shading, redirecting the light or electromagnetic shielding.
Protected by its unique layer of oxide, which re-forms continuously from the chromium-rich alloy and oxygen, stainless steel needs no applied coatings. Its corrosion resistance makes it – through the choice of the right grade for the particular application – an extremely long lasting, easy-care and low maintenance material. These properties play a major role when considering the life cycle costs, and place the sometimes higher initial investment in a new light. Futhermore, durability is a factor in the calculations of sustainability and certification systems, which are growing in importance.

The stainless steel options used for facades are just diverse as the applications and products themselves. Sheets, meshes, gratings, woven fabrics, expanded metal or sections with natural, matt, embossed, satin-polished or coloured surface finishes provide designers with a wide range of options. In addition, the enormous progress in the area of computer-controlled milling, laser and water-jet cutting methods and newly developed three dimensional shaping techniques expand the scope for creativity in the imaginative facade designs.

Michele Arcadipane, Key Account Manager Architecture & Building at Outokumpu, a full member of Euro Inox, and supplier of Linen look steel for 3 WTC, shares: “Stainless steel is often pigeon-holed as a commodity. Its wide range of grades and look and feel of different surface finishes are not yet known to all architects and project planners. With 3WTC, we want to further demonstrate the creative potential of stainless steel and emphasize its vast artistic capabilities. Stainless steel is already popular among architects and interior designers as an interior styling feature in ‘brushed’ and ‘polished finishes. But in recent years, textured stainless steel surfaces are gaining a reputation also as a superior exterior finish.”