Corrugated metal structures started their life as utilitarian, sturdy, long-lasting servants to our needs for protecting assets. They were quick to build, had huge logistics advantages and were gentle on budgets. These structures have transformed from servants to suave, from tin sheds to imaginative and upmarket architectural designs in high-end suburbs.
Corrugated metal was purportedly invented during the 1820s by the Brit Henry Robertson Palmer and was hugely popular for colonial structures. The sprawling British empire soon amassed trading posts, military barracks, villas and chapels constructed from corrugated metal.
Those colonial buildings are still around today, recycled into new structures after over 200 years. Dismantled from their original purpose, their panels are reused today for housing, roofs, workshops – limited only by imagination.
Property owners snubbed corrugated metal as too utilitarian for many decades. A relentless push from visionary architects has slowly recategorised corrugated metal into its rightful place in architectural specifications.
It has slowly risen in esteem throughout modernism and can be seen in Jean Prouvé’s creations of demountable buildings. These French colonial structures have become art, traded in high-end auctions and exhibited in design fairs.
Postwar, Californian Case Study Houses used recycled corrugated metal in attractive modern architecture homes for Servicemen. And later, the architectural icon Frank Gehry incorporated the tin shed material into a corrugated metal extension of his otherwise dull Santa Monica house. From that 1978 architectural landmark onwards, corrugated metal was viewed as radical and visionary.
The sublime, 1.4m-wide house, Jewel, designed by Apollo Architects & Associates’ Satoshi Kurosaki, is an outstanding demonstration of the contemporary use of corrugated metal. The slim tower shape and corrugation is reminiscent of black wooden net shops found across the oceans from Japan in Hastings, England.
A more fluid and visually striking example, by Merge Architects’, is a residential block on Boston’s harbour, U.S.A. Merge’s design uses the flexibility of corrugated sheeting to mimic maritime forms, jutting out like piers and waving around the plot with curving corners. The black corrugated metal echoes the tar and the pitch used for local buildings and boats.
The same black corrugated sheet is reminiscent of farm buildings and, therefore, it integrates well with farmhouse style or historic homes. In the Cotswolds, Eastabrook Architects’ produced a beautiful extension to a 19th-century house. The main house is in the local vernacular, and the potentially radical building extension is striking only in its visually recessing effect. The black corrugation is subtle and unobtrusive. This is possibly facilitated by the use of a very similar shape to the main house.
Each new structure gives us a new appreciation of this 200-year-old material. A true classic that has grown from tin shed parameters to award-winning, high-end architectural usage. For a cost-effective, versatile, beautiful extension to your home or business, contact our experienced creative team today.
The Web Guys