Pushing the Envelope: 7 Bold Buildings Clad in Metal

These projects form an indispensable catalog for inspiring any stunning metal façade design.

Jennifer Geleff Jennifer Geleff

Each week, Architizer is highlighting a different building product and how to specify it — this week’s topic is metal cladding. If you’re looking for the perfect metal cladding for your next project, search for it on Source, Architizer’s new network marketplace for building products. Click here to sign up now.

Metal cladding dramatically alters the dynamic of a building. In its rawest forms, it’s flexible, durable and economical. On much grander scales, and ever since Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao catapulted onto the global stage, the architecture world has seen a steady push forward in massive metal façades. Both visually remarkable and pragmatic, the material’s qualities and applicability are undeniable. Not yet on board as a metal cladding fanatic? The following collection was imagined to convince and entice you.

These seven projects explore metallic façades, skins and building envelopes that are particularly fascinating. Spanning specialty box-rib metal to shockingly affordable and standardized sheets, together these projects form an indispensable catalog for inspiring any stunning metal façade design.

Sherbourne Common Pavilion by Teeple Architects Inc., Toronto, Canada

Metal Siding by VMZINC

An anchor at the intersection of several park elements, this pavilion provides an open gateway that both welcomes visitors and frames views of Lake Ontario’s waterfront. The architects specified a warm VMZINC product for the rain screen cladding and a lighter-hued polished VMZINC cladding under the archway. As sunlight hits the polished panels, the shimmering arch captures those passing by, luring in visitors. Through carefully curated exterior materials, this design achieved a LEED Gold certification.

Albi Major Theater by Dominique Perrault Architecte, Albi, France

Metal Fabrics by GKD-USA

Without hiding the main structure’s beauty, Albi Major Theater is entirely wrapped in a mesh metal veil. The architect created a detached open-top box, featuring curved copper-toned sides that drape down from the building’s roof line. Beyond softening the visual effect of the main structure’s brick and concrete façade, the veil also acts as a screen against the harsh sun, wind and rain. The veil is made with GKD’s Metal Fabrics, which are available in a wide range of weaves, patterns and finishes.

Bolton Residence by _naturehumaine, Bolton-Est, Canada

Metal Siding by Macind

Resting on a natural plateau just below the plot’s highest point, The Bolton Residence was built to exist in perfect symbiosis with its natural environment. The house is characterized by two stacked volumes; at its base, a wood-clad volume anchors the structure into the mountain, while a cantilevered structure clad in vertical metal panels sits directly above.

Montessori Elementary by Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Ariz., United States

Wall Panels by Metal Sales Manufacturing

For this project, Marlon Blackwell Architects created a design for a Montessori elementary school that would negotiate environmental conditions and the need for new space. Located in a flood zone, the project includes a commercial kitchen, classrooms and meeting spaces. The material palette was kept deliberately simple to stay within budget, employing pre-finished box-rib metal panels as the primary cladding on both volumes. The design exhibits a shared commitment to durability and environmental performance, and was awarded a LEED Silver certification.

The Waterfront Pavilion, Australian National Maritime Museum by fjmt, Sydney, Australia

Façade and Glazing by Kingspan

From afar, this massive waterfront building looks as if its undulating form is constructed of curved corrugated material. In actuality, the articulated façade is composed of large metal slices that are pitched forward at various angles. In order to realize this custom design, the architect worked with building-envelope specialist Kingspan, which specializes in ACM cladding and engineered façade systems.

MOOSE ROAD RESIDENCE by Mork Ulnes Architects, Ukiah, Calif., United States

Structural Frames & Systems by All Weather Architectural Aluminum

Inside this residence alone, one can access views of “Eagle Rock,” a nearby mountain ridge and a valley of vineyards. The main challenge was to frame these three separate views while still meeting the client’s sustainability goals and budget restraints. The building was designed using standard-sized, off-the-shelf sheet metal by All Weather Architectural Aluminum. Minimizing waste and staying within budget, the entire structure was erected on less than $190 per square foot.

Transient Office Buildingby group architect, Issaquah, Wash., United States

Metal Siding byAEP Span

This project is the newest corporate headquarters for Trans-Net Inc., a global logistics company specializing in ocean freight. Inspired by cargo containers, the architects focused on creating a playful interaction between commercial materials and pragmatic concerns such as light and open space. In partnership with AEP Span, a leading manufacturer in metal walls and roofs, the building is clad in a combination of metal siding and cement board panels, in order to maximize durability.

Eric Baldwin and Sheila Kim contributed to this article.

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