Modern architecture relies on aluminium

Timeless material with many facets

As has been the case for years, major building projects are no longer built in the classical manner, stone by stone. Increasingly, modern administrative buildings, hotels and shopping centres have a transparent structure in which glass and metal set the tone. And the trend towards transparent structures, which capture large amounts of daylight and contribute towards a bright, friendly atmosphere, is also continuing inside the buildings. Twin-shell façades, which are becoming ever more common, combine the energy-saving use of daylight with the effect of a climate buffer that reduces the temperature gradient and thus saves energy via an enclosed air pocket, and also creates pleasant ambient conditions.

The supporting structure of such façades consists mainly of extruded aluminium profiles that combine low weight with the necessary strength and an elegant appearance. Twin-shell structures, the inner and outer profiles of which are joined using high-strength, thermally insulating plastics, ensure the composite structure made from aluminium, plastics and glass has a high degree of thermal insulation. Inside the building, partition walls comprising a frame of aluminium profiles create generously proportioned visual effects and provide sound absorption and a safe escape route that provides an unimpaired view and protection against fire and smoke in an emergency. Earlier, it was only possible to make fire-resistant partition walls and doors using a steel frame construction but intelligent designs have long since made it possible to make large-format, fire-resistant glazed doors and partition wall elements from aluminium and thus ensure a harmonic interplay between the transparent interior walls and the façade.

Depending on the design, the frameworks used for façades, partition walls and door elements can be plain or matt in their natural colour, colour anodised or even colour coated. Aluminium profiles in the same material and finish for lighting systems, shelves and technical installations, such as lifts with panoramic cabins and air conditioning systems, ensure the appearance is coherent and congruent. Cast aluminium door fittings blend harmoniously into the overall picture.

Profiles for roofs and façades

Aluminium’s hi-tech appearance opens up a wide range of additional applications when designing spectacular roofs and façades. Thanks to their flexibility, aluminium standing-seam profiles make it possible to have imposingly shaped curved roofs whose appearance is in harmony with the façades, which are likewise aluminium clad. Green roofs with an aluminium substructure are also popular. As with façades, there is a wide variety of different surface finishes available for roofs, which ranges from plain to matt, from the typical aluminium finish through to treatments that combine the durability and weathering resistance of aluminium with the appearance of zinc or titanium, and even includes colour coated surfaces.

Many accessories made from aluminium

However, this is in no way the final word when it comes to the use of aluminium in the building industry: other possible applications range from railings to radiators, from lights to balcony balustrades. And when it comes to insulation and an effective vapour barrier, there is still nothing to beat rolls of insulation with an aluminium foil backing.