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3 Reasons Aluminum is Building America

empirestatebuildingThe first major use of aluminum was in the construction of the Empire State Building in the 1930’s. Since then, aluminum has been recognized as both an energy efficient and sustainable building material, with 25 percent of all aluminum produced used in construction.

Here are three reasons why this versatile and strong material has become a building essential.

1. It’s Sustainable

In today’s aluminum building materials, the estimated recycled content is between 50 and 85 percent. Buildings at the end of life-cycles can have aluminum components recycled to reduce the impact on the environment. Aluminum is one of the few materials that can be recycled an infinite number of times with no change in strength or durability.

Aluminum is also extremely reflective, reflecting back 95 percent of light and reducing cooling costs. The inclusion of aluminum makes solar cells more efficient. In fact, including aluminum in structures helps building projects qualify for LEED green building status.

2. It’s Efficient

In a world where buildings are getting taller, aluminum is a material that reduces weight. Modern skyscrapers would not be possible without aluminum. An aluminum extrusion is half the weight of a steel extrusion of the same stiffness and is less likely to fracture under pressure. Structures made with aluminum are 35 to 65 percent lighter than steel structures and significantly lighter than those made with reinforced concrete.

Despite its lightness, aluminum is also strong. Aluminum extrusions can very easily support the weight of large glass spans, allowing more natural light to shine into
buildings. Aluminum’s durability means it can serve its purpose for decades, reducing replacement costs, so a building utilizing aluminum is strong, easier to construct, lightweight and less expensive.

3. It’s Resistant

Aluminum building materials are weatherproof, corrosion resistant and immune to UV rays. Aluminum maintains its properties in both hot and cold weather and protects buildings from cold temperatures up to four times better than 10-centimeter-thick brick. Over the years, aluminum has become a popular material for outdoor building components because of its resistance to the effects of nature.

As a result of its light weight, strength, resistance and uses in energy efficiency, aluminum has become one of the world’s favorite modern building materials.

Click here to learn how you can include American Douglas Metal’s aluminum extrusion solutions in your next building project and receive a FREE project quote.

aluminuminfographic

 

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Aluminum: Every Day Uses – Part 2

In last month’s 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 give aluminum a leg up on the competition by allowing it to be painted and dyed.

This month, we’re closing out our two-part series by showcasing some of the famous and unique structures made possible by aluminum extrusions and building materials.

 

  1. Empire State Building – New York, New York

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most recognizable and iconic buildings ever created, this 85-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:

  • 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 added after initial construction finished.

 

  1. Farnborough Airport – United Kingdom

tag-farnborough-airport-terminal-and-hangarsThe 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 faster setup of stronger structures than traditional brick or concrete.
  • As populations rise or fall, the adaptable materials make for easy changes to the size of the building.

 

  1. Commerzbank Tower – Frankfurt, Germany

DreBa Zertifikatsvergabe mit Hr. HerrleinElevated 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, health of workers and reduce the building’s ecological impact.
  • 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 first ecological skyscraper.

 

  1. Tête Carrée – Nice, France

90398447_pLiterally meaning “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 in the upper four floors.
  • An exterior aluminum mesh covering to protect the building. The covering gives the appearance of a smooth, flat surface while visitors inside of the building can see through.

Now that we’ve highlighted the creative ways in which aluminum can be used and shown examples of aluminum structures from around the world, if you’re feeling inspired to start your own project, click here to see how we can help.

 

Image Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_State_Building

http://www.businessairportinternational.com/news.php?NewsID=55959

https://www.commerzbank.de/en/hauptnavigation/konzern/commerzbank_im__berblick/hochhaus_1/hochhaus.html

http://www.blogarchiphoto.com/archives/2013/10/09/28162283.html

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Aluminum: Every Day Uses – Part 1

Highly regarded for its durable and economic properties, aluminum has quickly become a major part of modern construction and architecture. A short and inexpensive manufacturing process saves companies time and money. With aluminum’s ability to be produced in sheets or extruded into pre-made shapes, it provides countless options for use.

We discussed some basic advantages of aluminum material in a previous blog, but here’s how those traits get put to use.

 

Flexing Some Muscle

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Photo by LondonSE1

The most popular use for aluminum materials is adding strength to buildings. Having half
the weight of a steel reinforced system, and a seventh of concrete, architects are free to design more unique structures.

Examples:

  • Exteriors can be covered in windows with the support of thin aluminum beams.
  • Skyscrapers can reach new heights with less weight. This allows more room for the building to sway under high wind conditions without the risk of collapse.

 

A Real Life Saver

boca_stairway_gray

Photo by FSI Industries

Aluminum’s high strength, low weight gives it the ability to withstand more force than steel.
Sheets can be stacked to increase protection while still weighing less than other materials.

Rust and oxidation are no longer a concern as well. Aluminum is highly corrosion resistant, giving it strength against weather and UV rays.

Examples:

  • Crash barriers on highways are small and lightweight yet strong enough to keep a speeding car from going off the road.
  • Stairwells are more commonly made from aluminum. Its properties give a reliable escape route that won’t burn or collapse under weight during emergencies.
  • Areas where structures and materials suffer corrosion, such as factories and coastal regions, are starting to see more aluminum designs. Aside from protecting inhabitants from the outside, aluminum structures will survive much longer with less wear.
  • Noise cancellation slits can be cut into flat-rolled sheets to provide sound reduction. These angled spaces help diffuse sound and can be filled with fiber glass or foam to increase the effect.

 

Easy on the Eyes

the modern office

Photo by ArchiExpo

A less obvious, but equally important use, for aluminum can be found throughout buildings. Aluminum can replace many smaller components to provide more reliable features than brass or steel.

Anodizing the surface creates a porous layer that can be dyed to create unique metallic surfaces to match any look.

Examples:

  • Door knobs made from aluminum are less likely to break.
  • Aluminum-framed buildings effectively insulated against colder temperatures. Depending on the amount and quality of insulation, it performs four times better than 10 centimeters of bricks and 20 centimeters of stone.
  • Wall facades, sculptures and other decorative pieces give buildings a pleasing aesthetic. These can be made of raw aluminum for a modern look, or dyed and painted to create a variety of styles.

 

Next month, we’ll be looking into how these uses have resulted in amazing aluminum structures.

Click here to learn more about American Douglas Metals’ custom aluminum extrusion solutions and get a FREE quote on your next project.

Photo Sources:

http://www.archiexpo.com/prod/alcoa-architectural-products-merxheim-frankreich/product-67104-1689354.html
http://www.fsindustries.com/more_info/welded_aluminum_prefab_boca_stairways/welded_aluminum_boca_prefab_stairways.shtml
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/places/city-hall

 

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