Metals in an expanding variety of finishes and formats give architects a near-limitless palette for aesthetic expression—without compromising building performance. Here's a quick sampling of six great claddings. TECU Brass KME This CuZn15-grade copper and zinc alloy has been specially designed for use on façades. Weathering changes the original reddish-gold color of the surface, with each façade developing its own unique characteristics. After the initial matting, the surface takes on a greenish brown tone, which slowly turns grayish brown before evolving into a dark brown-anthracite color. On sloping surfaces, a patina typical of classical copper develops. The material offers outstanding mechanical abrasion resistance, extremely high corrosion resistance and durability, as well as excellent stability and material rigidity. It can be cold-shaped and soft-soldered. Alpolic/fr Fire-Retardant Core Alpolic Fire-retardant cladding is typically required in buildings that exceed a minimum height as specified by applicable codes. Offered in an extensive choice of options, this affordable material is a popular choice for external cladding. It is composed of a fire-retardant thermoplastic core sandwiched between two thin metal skins. Available in several finish options. Reynobond ACM Reynobond This aluminum panel features a polyethylene core that adds strength and rigidity to the coil-coated aluminum panels. This maximizes its flexibility and formability, while maintaining a light weight for easy installation. Also available with a fire-retardant mineral core. CWP 600 Wall Panel Englert The Englert CWP 600 is a sequentially installed, gasketed wall panel system that employs integral weather stripping and hidden fasteners. Like the 200 and 400 series, this wall panel system can accommodate intricate corners, curved walls, simple fascias, and various soffit and parapet conditions. All panels are assembled using proprietary internal extrusions that provide a rigid perimeter, producing a stiff panel that resists deflection and modulation. Eco 160 Electro Range Sapphire Aluminum Anodized aluminum is UV-resistant and will not peel, chip, flake, or blister. Because it is a translucent coating—not an opaque powder-coat—it maintains a deep metallic finish. Herringbone 3 GKD This flexible, stainless steel mesh can be used for walls, column covers, partitions, and more.
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Last night Rafael Moneo, Madrid-based architect and Harvard Graduate School of Design professor, kicked off Columbia’s third annual conference on architecture, engineering, and materials with a keynote lecture on his Northwest Corner Building, a new interdisciplinary science facility between Chandler and Pupin halls. This year’s conference is titled Post Ductility: Metals in Architecture and Engineering, and though Moneo’s building isn’t scheduled to be completed until the fall of next year, there may not have been a better time to discuss its materials or its contribution to the campus. Unfinished, the building can be seen as the engineering marvel that it is, with 300 tons of structural trusses enabling it to float above the gym beneath it. (Here's a video we posted of them being installed.) Fitting neatly with the conference’s theme, Moneo’s discussion of interpreting what McKim, Mead, and White would have wanted for a New York campus in this century presented the building as less of a departure and more of an entrance. To critics who would say the building doesn’t meld with the university’s architecture, he cautioned, “Use of a material doesn’t guarantee the true continuity you are looking for.” The Post Ductility conference runs through Friday and will conclude with a discussion by GSAPP dean Mark Wigley, and Werner Sobek, Steven Holl, and Matthias Schuler. Next year's conference theme is slated to be Polymers: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering.