The use of stainless steel components for building facade enclosures is not a new concept. The crown of the Chrysler Building in New York City was clad in austenitic stainless steel, dating back to 1930. The windows and mullions were also stainless steel. This iconic building shimmers in daylight and under directional lighting at night due to the nature of the stainless steel that requires little maintenance to retain its sheen. There are a variety of uses for stainless steel on building facades that can enhance the design and structural integrity.
Uses of Stainless Steel on Building Facades
Stainless steel sheets, panels, and flat sections can be customized to envelope a building, proving a weatherproof skin. Stainless sheds water and does not succumb to deterioration or discoloration from rain, wind and common pollutants. The corrosion resistance properties makes this an ideal cladding material in urban environments.
Exposed Structural Elements
The elegance and lightness of Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) is hard to match with any other material. Building exteriors with large expanses of glass and exposed slender framing components are airy and inviting, especially at street level. These structures allow for the outdoors to come inside, without the elements of weather. Laser fused exposed stainless steel structural profiles are especially desirable. The laser fusion process results in clean, precise lines and neatly fitting vertical and horizontal sections with minimal bead welds.
Exposed structural elements can also be sculptural in nature. These are often used for entrance canopies, pergolas, and signage at building facades. Our South Ferry Terminal Project in Manhattan is a prime example of this application.
Curtain Wall Systems
A curtain wall is a building skin that is composed of structural mullions and glass. Stainless steel is ideal for curtain wall systems. Because is it strong, durable, and flexible, the material allows for interesting designs and maximal glass area. Walls can be towering, curved, angled, or askew with non-parallel mullion patterns. Architects are fond of being able to create intriguing and eye-catching mullion designs and layouts.
The Future of Stainless Steel for Building Facades
Due to the inherent qualities of stainless steel, the material is both environmentally appealing and a good return on investment. Stainless steel is durable, pollution and corrosion resistant, nearly 100% recyclable, and lasts longer than some of the more traditional building enclosure materials still in use today. This makes the material very attractive for projects looking for L.E.E.D. certification. Steel, in general, leaves less of an impact on our planet’s carbon footprint. The fact that stainless steel requires very little maintenance results in a reduction in building operational expenses and long term replacement costs.
Due to the design capabilities and flexibility of stainless steel, many architects and structural engineers are embracing the material to produce uniquely shaped building exteriors. Contemporary designs, especially in urban environments, are becoming more striking and are often seen as works of art. Even industrial projects, where corrosion resistance is key, are more attractive and modern with the use of stainless steel.
Laser Fused Stainless Steel Components for Facades
The laser fusion technology used at Stainless Structurals allows for very precisely cut and laser welded shapes, sections, and custom profiles. This technology is exciting for achieving elegant and striking curtain wall systems, square cornered exposed structural elements in exterior walls, and clean edges for exterior cladding. Steel to glass connections are nearly flawless. Customization of components is almost always achievable.
Please contact us, or browse our website to learn more about our global services and the manufacturing processes we use to produce the finest stainless steel and carbon steel shapes and profiles for your building needs.