When you think about designing a commercial or residential building, your mind likely focuses on the most common building materials, like wood, stone, brick, concrete, steel, and even plastic or vinyl. While these materials are the most heavily used when constructing all types of buildings, there’s another option that can provide you with greater flexibility: aluminum. Aluminum offers energy efficiency, aesthetic appeal, durability, and innovation in modern buildings while keeping construction costs and costs-to-own low.
With aluminum, the possibilities are endless. From passive building technologies to advanced sliding systems and curtain walls, aluminum is proving to be the go-to material for innovative architectural design. So, what are some benefits aluminum can offer to architects and their designs? Glad you asked! Let’s jump in:
1. Develop Appealing Designs, While Maximizing Passive Energy Efficiency
To achieve a truly green building, it needs to have more than solar panels and wind turbines. After all, the first step to creating an energy-efficient building is reducing the amount of energy it needs to operate on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge in the modern era. We need electricity to power lights, computers, and security systems. The building may need natural gas or propane to power boilers, dryers, hot water heaters, and furnaces. The technological advancements that require either electricity or natural gas seem to be increasing daily. Therefore, architects need to start with the building's envelope and implement passive energy designs with innovative materials.
Heating and cooling a building can be as much as 32% of the energy costs, according to Energy Star. Reducing that cost starts with eliminating unwanted interior and exterior air transfer, typically done through insulation and natural building facades, like stone, concrete, or brick. However, stone and brick are heavy and expensive, in terms of transport and installation costs.
Aluminum facades can provide the same level of envelope sealing while being easier to install and less costly to transport. It also has thermal reflective properties, which means your building won't heat up with the sun. In fact, aluminum can be designed to reflect more than 90% of the solar energy that hits the building's exterior surfaces. When your building doesn't absorb the heat from the sun, HVAC costs are reduced. When aluminum is incorporated into the design - along with solar panels and energy-efficient appliances - it is possible to construct net-zero energy buildings!
2. Reflect the Owner's or Business's Personality with Innovative Design Details
What's your client's style? While some home and building owners prefer utilitarian designs that incorporate functionality over aesthetic appeal, not every client will want a beige box or concrete monolith. The good news is that sustainable, energy-efficient designs don't have to be boring. With aluminum, you can add innovative design details, while keeping the building's carbon footprint low.
Just imagine a gorgeous courtyard accessible via an open corner door system [a zero threshold wall window, and interior and exterior glass and aluminum-framed pocket door], which breaks apart the building's facade, and creates a fluid space that seems to bring the outdoors indoors. This is all possible when you choose aluminum.
As an added bonus, oftentimes, these types of aluminum sliding door systems can be installed with either manual or motorized operation functionality, giving you additional options to meet [or even exceed] your client’s desires and expectations.
3. Create Visual Appeal with Versatile Shapes, Styles, and Opening Types
Perhaps, you aspire to be the next Frank Gentry, whose most famous buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum in Spain. Frank Gentry was known for his innovative, contemporary designs and building concepts, and aluminum can help you achieve the same level of creative design and aesthetic appeal for your clients, due to aluminum’s ability to be cast into almost any shape and size.
Perhaps your client wants to maximize natural light with window walls or skylights, or maybe they're seeking to create areas of the building that seem to bring the outdoors indoors. Aluminum doors, windows, and wall systems can be designed in almost any shape, with nearly any size opening. In fact, even the opening style of windows can be customized. For example, let's say your next design incorporates lots of windows for natural light, but the area where the building is being constructed receives a lot of rain. The window openings for aluminum-framed windows can be designed to open up, like an awning, to mitigate the risk of the water finding its way indoors. This opening type is also perfect for multi-story buildings, where window opening parameters need to be kept at a minimum, for safety purposes.
Aluminum doors also have the same type of versatility. Just imagine a glass- and aluminum-framed building corner without a distracting metal bar in that corner. Or a series of individual doors that pivot open, leading out to a modern workspace, exceptional outdoor living, rooftop, or entertaining space – all while allowing you to control the amount of open area between the indoors and outdoors. A pivot door installation can also consist of a single extra-large door for requiring spaces.
4. Choose the Right Color Scheme
Aluminum doesn't have to be black or gray. In fact, you can get aluminum in just as many colors as you can paint or vinyl. In fact, Reynaers Aluminum alone offers more than 450 colors to match any color scheme. You can even order your frames in matte or gloss finishes, and if you're worried about wear and tear, scratches, and the need to repaint, they can be ordered with scratch-resistant coatings.
Add Innovation with a Wide Variety of Accessories
Increase the innovation of the building design with a variety of accessories. Our complementary systems include optimized insect screens that keep pests out while maximizing the view from windows and sliding doors. If your goal is to create safety and security while increasing the aesthetic appeal of the windows in your high rise, we recommend considering RB glass. This glass is specifically designed for increased strength and durability for large windows on upper floors, and keeping the sun out is easy with our sun shading solutions.
Create Sustainable Buildings with Aluminum Solutions
When energy efficiency, ease of design, and aesthetic appeal are your goals, consider incorporating aluminum products, including windows, doors, and curtain walls. And if you’re involved in a Smart Building project, you may be surprised to know that you can make your Smart Building design even smarter!
If you are interested in learning more about how Reynaer’s Aluminium products can contribute to your works of architectural art, reach out to us today. We’d love to connect with you!