Architecture, building and construction applications
The architectural possibilities for stainless steel were recognised within only a few years of its discovery early in the 20th century. Highly-visible proof can be found in such well-known structures as the roof of the Chrysler Building in New York and the canopy of the Savoy Hotel in London. For a while, the relative high cost and limited availability of the material restricted is application to “flagship” buildings of this type for which the cost was a secondary consideration.
However, in recent decades, that perspective has changed dramatically as the cost of stainless steel, in relation to that of competing materials, has become much lower, while many new grades and product forms are now widely available all over the world. No longer is it viewed purely as a “decorative” option for façades, shop fronts, lift and escalator panels and so on, but, in many instances, it is part of the unseen but vital fabric of a building or structure. Notable examples are fittings for interior plumbing, fixing components for the attachment of stone facades and the use of stainless steel reinforcing bars for concrete structures, for which a long design-life is specified (for more information on stainless steel reinforcing bar: stainlesssteelrebar.org).
In this part of the library, you will find many of the architectural and structural applications which have made this industrial sector the highest-growth market for many types of stainless steel.
worldstainless has developed a brochure to provide a handy reference source to help engineers and designers to decide whether to use stainless steel, and, if so, which grade to use. The brochure has chapters dealing with a wide range of relevant topics, from abrasion resistance to fire resistance and further on to mechanical and physical properties. The publications to which it refers can be downloaded from links provided in the brochure. Click here to download Stainless steel for designers.
Several brochures attempting to highlight some selected success stories where stainless steel has been used in architectural applications are available:
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume I [English or Chinese]
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume II [English or Chinese]
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume III [English]
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume IV [English]
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume V [English]
- Stainless steel in architectural applications - volume VI [English]
When checking the sustainability credentials of stainless steels, the following can be observed:
Only a couple of years after the invention of stainless steels, architects started discovering its potential for building and construction - in both visible and non-visible applications. However diverse they may be in terms of scope, purpose and product used, they have one thing in common: they are part of an architecture that is made to last.
The efficient operation of public infrastructure has a strong effect on the quality of our daily lives: reliable access to energy and drinking water; the ease of travelling by road, rail, air or water; the safe disposal of waste and sewage; all determine how we live and work. In these sectors, stainless steel plays an important but often unnoticed role.
Sustainable development is one of the key issues of the 21st century. Urban planners are therefore looking into sustainable solutions for street furniture. Stainless steel is a durable, safe, hygienic material and has low maintenance cost. We believe stainless steel is the sustainable solution for street furniture.
Stainless steels are a very good choice for structural applications. Articles and case studies on these applications can be found in this area of the website.
Stainless steel is a popular choice for the exterior of a building for several reasons: it lasts a lifetime and has a low maintenance cost, it looks aesthetically pleasing and there are various choices of finish, it is durable and it is a sustainable option.
Besides structural applications, building exteriors, street furniture and infrastructure, there are many other architectural applications for which stainless steel can be used.