Metal in architecture: a material with multiple potentials

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Metal is a material that has accompanied the history of architecture since ancient times, but which reached its peak with the industrial revolution and its technological innovations.
Metal, in fact, offers a series of advantages compared to other construction materials, such as resistance, lightness, durability, versatility, recyclability, etc. It can take on different shapes, colours, finishes and functions, adapting to design needs and environmental contexts. It can be used both as a load-bearing structure and as a covering, both as a decorative element and as a climate filter.

Metal interacts with other materials, such as wood, glass, concrete, stone, etc., creating contrasts or harmonies. It can express the creativity and personality of architects, giving life to unique and original works.

Among the many types of metals used in architecture, we can mention steel, iron, aluminium, copper, bronze, corten, titanium, zinc, etc.
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Each of these metals has specific characteristics that determine its performance and appearance. For example, steel is the most widespread metal in architecture, thanks to its high mechanical resistance and its ease of processing.

Steel can be used to make skyscrapers, bridges, stadiums, museums, etc. Iron, on the other hand, is the oldest metal in architecture, used since Roman times to reinforce masonry structures. Iron had a great diffusion in the nineteenth century, with iron architecture, which produced works such as the Eiffel Tower, the Crystal Palace, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, etc.

Aluminum is the lightest metal in architecture, with a specific weight approximately one-third that of steel. It has good corrosion resistance and good thermal and electrical conductivity. Aluminum is used to make facades, roofs, windows, etc. Copper is the most ductile metal in architecture, capable of taking complex and irregular shapes. Copper has a reddish color that tends to turn green over time, creating interesting color effects. Copper can be used to make roofs, domes, chimneys, etc.

Bronze is the noblest metal in architecture, used since ancient times to make statues, doors, columns, etc. It has a brown color that oxidizes over time, forming a protective patina. Bronze can be used to make decorative, symbolic or artistic elements.

Corten is the most alive metal in architecture, capable of changing appearance with time and atmospheric conditions. It is a type of steel that protects itself from corrosion, forming a layer of surface rust that gives it a reddish-brown hue. Corten can be used to create facades, sculptures, monuments, etc.

Titanium is the strongest metal in architecture, with mechanical strength superior to that of steel and corrosion resistance superior to that of aluminum. Titanium has a gray color that reflects light in a variable way, creating dynamic lighting effects. It is used to create facades, roofs, structural elements, etc. Zinc is the most ecological metal in architecture, as it is completely recyclable and does not produce harmful emissions.

Zinc has a gray color that integrates with the surrounding environment, creating a natural effect. Zinc can be used to make roofs, facades, gutters, etc.

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These are just some of the many possibilities that metal offers in architecture. Metal is a material with multiple potentials, which can be exploited in a creative and innovative way to create works of quality and value. Metal in architecture is a choice of style and function, which does not go unnoticed and which leaves its mark.