Did you know that 25% of aluminium produced worldwide is used in construction? Known globally as the ‘miracle metal’, aluminium has been used for more than 100 years within the construction industry. Due to its light-weight, fuel efficient and recyclable properties, it has been the metal of choice for decades when it comes to exterior building design.

The combination of other materials along with this particular metal means that a whole range of aluminium composite panel exterior designs have been created. The malleability of aluminium means that building design has been taken to the next level and seen the birth of some amazing building design.

Aluminium Composite Panel Exterior Designs

So what exactly are aluminium composite panels? Generally speaking, they are cladding panels that consist of a core material called polyethylene, which is then enveloped in two aluminium skins; also known as a sandwich panel. The central material provides many beneficial properties, from robustness and low density to excellent mechanical performance and heat resistance. The aluminium layers maintain a pleasing aesthetic with the ability to be coated in any colour or patterns. As detailed in this article from Designing Buildings, aluminium cladding systems are commonly used for building exteriors, due to the requirement of fewer joints and time-efficient installation process.

Get ready for a trip around the world as we take you through the top 5 building designs, incorporating aluminium composite panels in their exterior. As specialists in cladding and exterior design, our teams take great inspiration from many buildings and are always looking at ways in which we can help clients achieve amazing exterior appearances to their properties, through curtain walling systems as well as cladding. Take a look through and discover how aluminium composite panels can transform your building.

Rich Mix Building London
Image Credit: Penoyre and Prasad Architects

Rich Mix, London

A vibrant mixture of coloured anodised and powder coatings, along with aluminium panels, makes the Rich Mix building top of our list. Designed by Penoyre and Prasad Architects, Rich Mix was built to weave together the people and culture in the surrounding community of Shoreditch. Known for its eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, along with hipster and artsy residents, Shoreditch was the perfect area in which to construct such a unique design.

The architect’s journey began with a disused building, as they took on the task to transform the tired structure into a creative hub of recording studios, gallery spaces and performance venues. Recladding the facade in aluminium panels and specialist coatings meant that the frame was resurrected into a robust and sustainable structure.

the wave building
Image Credit: René van Zuuk Architects

The Wave, Holland

Designed by esteemed Dutch architect, René van Zuuk, the target of The Wave building was to combine striking architecture and affordability. Aluminium cladding was chosen due to the fact that it is light-weight, extremely sturdy and malleable. The building also required a material that held anti-corrosive properties, as it stands next to the sea and would face a relatively high level of humidity as well as salt water.

The replication of a wave-like formation is clearly evident as soon as you set eyes on this innovative exterior design. The aluminium facade covers this apartment block in a sustainable yet eye-catching skin, once again demonstrating the amazing benefits, aesthetically and structurally, of aluminium composite panels.

empire state building
Image Credit: Time Out

The Empire State Building, New York

Famously one of the first structures that used aluminium within its design, The Empire State Building was designed in the 1930s by architectural firm, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon. As the tallest building in the world until 1970, aluminium is used widely throughout the building’s structure; from the external walls to internal ceilings.

The building’s facade is made up of a series of bands of brick along with cast aluminium spandrel panels. A single wythe of brick masonry infill supports these panels, while a polyurethane sealant secures the joints of these as well as the aluminium windows. This particular structure is the perfect example of aluminium’s anti-corrosive properties and its ability to stand the test of time.

Threads building
Image Credit: Belzburg Architects

Threads, Mexico

Designed by renowned architects, Belzburg, the Threads building was created with the main aim of withstanding seismic impacts. After this area of Mexico City was hit badly by the September 2017 Puebla earthquake, the need for robust and sustainable architecture was a must.

Aluminium has been used in a beautifully unique way; seamlessly blending the exterior design with the inside of the building, through a weave of aluminium ribbons flowing across the facade. While these are not composite panels as such, the vertical aluminium strips have been combined with studded glass, a low-E coating and two layers of PVB to help reduce glare and minimise colour tarnishing. We’re sure you’ll agree that this use of aluminium along with other materials and coatings produce a modern yet functional exterior design.

Commerzbank building
Image Credit: Foster + Partners

Commerzbank, Frankfurt

Commerzbank in Frankfurt is a perfect architectural example of aluminium panels used in exterior design, and the multitude of benefits they bring to commercial buildings. The use of anodised aluminium rain screen panel cladding provides a facade of extreme durability, as well as a naturally ventilated internal environment. Aluminium extrusions have been incorporated into the design as well as internal aluminium windows, to achieve a robust and sustainable structure.

Designed by Foster + Partners with the end user in mind, materials were used to flood these offices with natural daylight, allowing workers to regulate their own environment. Dubbed as the first ‘ecological office tower’, their sustainable approach helped to minimise energy and water consumption, while resuing and restoring the existing buildings which helped to reduce material consumption.

Transform Your Building With Aluminium

Through the use of aluminium and composite panels, the exterior design of a commercial building can be completely transformed. Not only does it help to achieve durability and anti-corrosive facades, but the sustainable properties it provides also proves to be the obvious choice for eco-friendly design.

While many of these exterior designs will be out of reach for our clients, we are able to enhance the look of aluminium cladding through wet spraying solutions, as well as treat any damaged aluminium surfaces with cut edge corrosion treatments. If you’d like to discuss any of these services along with your cladding requirements, the team at CJ Coatings will be happy to help.

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